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Vincere
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Marco Bellocchio directed and wrote (with Daniela Ceselli) this very dark version of the private life of Benito Mussolini, a portion of his life that centered on his mistress and the mother of his son, one Ida Dalser. Though the film never really reveals whether Ida Dasler and Mussolini were married (Mussolini already had a wife and child when he me the devastatingly beautiful and erotic Ida) but that simply doesn't seem to matter while watching this artistic triumph of a film. What the director does manage to portray is the life and times of Italy before, during, and after WW I, a time during which Mussolini began his influence as a socialist and ultimately founded Italian Fascism, becoming the Fascist dictator of Italy. The many permutations of the concepts of monarchism and socialism and eventually Fascism are delineated by the film, if at times as shadowy in their explanation as is the director's love of dark in lighting the screen during almost all of the action. Bellocchio uses black and white film clips throughout his film giving it a somewhat documentary flair, but the performances by the actors make this film very much a visceral drama and not a dry rehash of history.

Filippo Timi gives a gripping performance as both Mussolini the ardent and handsome lover and politician whose life is always controlled by the term 'Vincere' ('Win'). Aptly, when the bulky monster Mussolini rises out of the socialism into fascism and the war the part of Mussolini is 'played' by the film clips of the real person. But as the film draws toward the end of his life, Timi once again enters the film in the role of his son Benito Albino Mussolini, a lad stricken with insanity and confined to a sanitarium. As Mussolini's mistress (aka 'wife' by her accounts) Ida Dalser, Giovanna Mezzogiorno offers one of the strongest cinematic portrayals of an important woman of history. She is simply riveting - erotic when the romance begins, faithful even when she discovers Mussolini has a wife, and uncontrollably fierce as she is confined by the government (with Mussolini's approval) to an insane asylum. This is one of those performances that will live in memory long after this film is seen and hopefully will garner awards when the Oscar season comes round.

In all this is a beautifully wrought, intelligent, beautifully acted, occasionally confusing melodrama that sheds light on the man Mussolini, his rise to power, and the women who came under his influence. Recommended. Grady Harp, May 10
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2010
The relationship between the Italian people and its political leaders is a complicated one that has been tackled recently by a number of Italian filmmakers, resulting in films as diverse as Paolo Sorrentino's Il Divo on Giulio Andreotti and Nanni Moretti's satire on Silvio Berlusconi in The Caiman. Perhaps the greatest and most political of modern-day Italian directors, Marco Bellocchio takes on arguably an even more complex subject in Vincere, one whose relationship with the Italian people is even more difficult to define - that of Benito Mussolini.

Typically however, from the director who found poetic resonance in the 1978 kidnapping and murder of elder statesman Aldo Moro by members of the Red Brigade in Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, notte), Vincere is far from a straightforward biopic. Bellocchio approaches his subject from a most unconventional angle, using the buried episode of Mussolini's secret first marriage to Ida Dalser, a marriage that would result in the birth of a child - unacknowledged by Mussolini - and the incarceration of Dalser in an insane asylum as Mussolini's rise to power called for a certain rewriting of his personal history. In their marriage, Bellocchio manages to examine the complicated nature of relationships between Italian men and women, and through it, say much about the nature of power in a wider historical and political context.

That still makes Vincere sound fairly conventional when in reality the film is much more complex in its structure and visual language. The relationship between Dalser and the dark, silent, forceful young Mussolini can seem as unfathomable as his move from militant socialism to fascism, and Bellocchio doesn't make it easy for the viewer to make sense of the contradictions, schizophrenically dividing the film in stylistic terms, the tall, dark and handsome Filippo Timi disappearing in the first half to be replaced by documentary footage of the real Mussolini, short, fat, ugly and bald in the second half. It makes no sense unless you consider what you are viewing is through the eyes of a young woman in the heightened emotional state of love in the earlier part, and betrayal in second.

It's Giovanna Mezzogiorno's performance that holds this together, preventing the film slipping over into empty stylistic excess (like Sorrentino's Il Divo) by underpinning it with strong meaningful human sentiments in her remarkably sensitive reading of Dalser. Whatever one makes of this puzzle of a film, which is extremely complicated in its range of political and cultural references (such as the way the Futurism art movement is integrated into the fabric of the film itself), and in what it says about the nature of the Italian people, Dalser's experience and Mezzagiorno's performance ensures that at the very least, Vincere presents a fascinating episode in recent political history through a touching portrait of a woman's blind love for a dangerous man.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2010
You may not learn a lot of historical facts surrounding the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's reign by watching director Marco Bellocchio's latest film, Vincere. But you will be highly entertained.

It's not that there isn't a lot of history packed into the film; it's just that because it was made for an Italian audience there isn't a lot of explanation or perspective given to the facts it presents. But so what? Ten minutes of watching Bellocchio's Mussolini work his way up the ranks of Italian politics will have you making a mental note to get a biography of the man from Amazon.com when you get home.

[...]
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2010
Through the struggle of this woman, Vincere is not only a critique of fascism and the dictatorship of Mussolini.. It is too a real hymn to cinema as a medium conveying meaning in an alienated world. In this point of view, it is by itself an act of resistance, in a world invaded by advertisements, and whose Imaginary is colonized by the society of the spectacle.

Bellocchio offers us an operatic tour de force. Performance by both actors is exceptionnal, but especially from Giovanna Mezzogiorno, amazingly inhabited in the role of her young career, on par with Falconetti in Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc. It is a performance and a movie that would indeniably have deserved more prizes, had Cannes 2009 jury been fair, or had Italy selected it as the Italian candidate for the 2010 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Movie, instead of a more commercial one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon January 14, 2011
Visceral portrait of a wealthy woman (Ida Dasler), dazzled by the sparkling charisma of this men's whisperer who committed the big mistake to fall in love with a man destined to be one of the most cruel tyrants of the Century: Benito Mussolini, hailed for many and hated for others, this curious dictator handled the will of this woman becoming her his lover, leaving her pregnant and ignoring her at all when the power came to him.

Private vices, public virtue seems to fit once more for this emblematic case, in which this unhappy woman and her child are sent to discrete places with the visible complicity of venerable holy actors.

Bellochio made a sublime masterwork remarking and underlyning the nastiness, proper of the double moral of this ruthless dictator.

Brilliant edition, sumptuous photography, incisve direction and the amazing performance of Giovanna Mezogiorno make of this film a true filmic gem.

Don't miss it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 27, 2010
A friend of mine put it to me this way: "with a subject so primed and ready for something `big', this film just doesn't `go there'". I totally agree. The dynamics are there, with vivid performances that splash all over the screen, but when all is said and done it just feels like a softened approach to a theme that could have used a little more elaboration. Biopics run the risk of becoming too one-note and familiar, but this is a story that is so rich with potential that it feels such a letdown when it winds up being tame. There was no room for `tame' here, and yet Marco Bellocchio found it somehow. Focusing on the misguided theatrics of Mussolini's first wife Ida Dalser was a wise choice, it just wasn't depicted in a way that brought justification to the decision. Instead it felt somewhat lazy and redundant as the film progressed, and the length of the film (which surpasses the two-hour mark) called for richer character development and plot progression, but instead it fell kind of flat. The film is too intent on being `epic' that it loses sight of the more intimate nature of the subject it chose to explore. Don't be mistaken; there is one thing well worth seeing here and that is Giovanna Mezzogiorno. Her performance is beyond words stellar. She takes the oft-seeming outlandishness of her characters actions and internalizes them enough to create something understandable and organic. It is a tour-de-force performance that deserves far more than this dullish film offers her. See it for Mezzogiorno, but don't expect much more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2011
Vincere was an amazing piece of history which combined newsreels from the 30s and 40s with created scenes of the rise of Mussolini which came at a time when Italians were ripe for a takeover by fascists. Mussolini filled that bill. The film also showed Benito's fall into corruption via his relationship with one of his mistresses who foolishly sold everything to finance his cause. She bore him a son whose life ended in the hell of mental illness/insanity. The film was well-done showing the politics of Benito M. and his rapid demise. Interestingly he seemed to represent -- to me -- the current dictator of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi. And that makes me wonder when beautiful Italy will be rid of self-serving dictators. The citizens deserve honest politicians and politics, not degenerate mafioso.
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on December 8, 2014
Vincere,an Italian word for English,is a film that is based on the tragic lives of Benito Mussolini's first wife,Ida Dalser and their son,Benito Albino.

It tells the story of Ida, who fell in love with the future Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini.She supported him while he was unemployed as she shares his dream in life that involves triumphantly leading the Italian masses away from monarchy.She believes wholeheartedly in his ideals and his future as the leader of Italy that she sells everything she has to fuel the development of his newspaper, Il Popolo d'Italia.They got married around 1914. She bore Mussolini a son named Benito Albino, before the outbreak of World War I.While the two fell in love,he quickly switches spiritual and political allegiances from an atheistic socialist to a deeply Catholic fascist because an, allegiance with the Vatican will allow him to wrest and retain control over Italy's government.Following his political ascendancy in 1925,the marriage certificate disappears and Ida learns that he has married Rachele Guidi with whom he had a daughter.She unwisely begins to protest the situation persistently that she was forced into house arrest and then shoved permanently Ida and their son into an insane asylum which determined her fate and the future of her young son. The film ended stating that Ida died in an asylum of brain hemorrhages;her son died as well in 1942 at an asylum after repeated coma-inducing injections; and Mussolini was killed by his enemies.

This is a definitely one of the best Italian films I have ever seen.Giovanna Mezzogiorno provides a great performance as Ida as well as Filippo Timi,who definitely will mesmerize the viewer as the ambitious young Mussolini and his insane son as an adult particularly when imitates his father's speech among his friends.Although the story started very well and it loses steam when both Ida and Benito Albino becomes mentally ill,the performances on the lead stars will keep us involved in the film.It also has a great cinematic lesson that worship of false leaders can lead to both personal breakdown and national collapse. Added to that,the film has a lot of passionate and emotional moments despite the fact that it can be incoherent at times especially if one is not well- versed with Italian history and the life of the late Fascist dictator.But overall,it is a can't miss film.Definitely,highly recommended.
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on March 26, 2012
Some amazing, poetic imagery, a great rich, almost operatic score, and a
hyper-emotional yet always grounded lead performance by Giovanna
Mezzogiomo make this film work.

The story of Mussolini's cruelly rejected and forgotten wife and son
(they were a problem politically, since it turned out he was already
married) is certainly interesting, and a glimpse at the toll of
dictatorship on a much more human scale. It was also gripping to see
Mussolini portrayed as more complex and dangerously charismatic than
the buffoonish cartoon he has become in the public's mind.

That said, for me the film felt long at 125 minutes. The repetition
with which Ida Dalser is locked away in various mental institutions and
studiously ignored is at first powerful, but ultimately wearying.

Perhaps I was over prepared, as so many critics declared this
Bellocchio's best film in years, perhaps ever. But then, I was always a
bit out of sync with the critical establishment re Bollocchio. I'm
also not obsessed with "Fists in Pocket" his first film, widely
regarded as a masterpiece. As with "Vincere" I liked it, but felt it
milked one tone too long. I'm more drawn to his more subtle and complex
work like "Good Morning, Night" and "Henry IV".

But I will re-watch this, and I'm happy to have discovered this
director's wonderful, unique, slightly surreal, yet still emotional
work, even if it took me too many years to do so.
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on August 15, 2011
A lushly photographed film with a sweeping historical theme that fails to gain much traction by virtue of the very slow pace at which the drama unfolds. It also fails to integrate its overly farcical and more solemn aspects. The inclusion of old documentary footage is perhaps the most notable feature, but insufficent to carry the overall weight of the very long, subtitled story. We are also unfortunately deprived of seeing the Mussolini character actively portrayed as he might have appeared in his later years. Nonetheless, this movie deserves 3 stars for its artistic and historical values.
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