Vincere (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/05/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 128 mins

Imaginatively directed and superbly written, this is a powerfully emotional drama with a terrific central performance from Giovanna Mezzogiorno.

What's it all about?
Directed by Marco Bellocchio, Vincere is based on a true story and stars Giovanna Mezzogiorno as beauty salon owner Ida Dalser, who's instantly besotted with young socialist firebrand Benito Mussolini (Filippo Timi) when she helps him evade the police during an anti-government demonstration for peace in 1914. They reportedly marry and Ida bears Mussolini a son (Fabrizio Costella as Benito), as well as giving up her salon in order to bankroll his newspaper, which is now fervently pro-war.

However, when Mussolini returns from the Great War and becomes head of the ruling fascist party, Ida is horrified to discover that he already has a wife (Michela Cescon) and child; worse, he refuses to acknowledge either their marriage or their son and instead has Ida locked away in an insane asylum. Meanwhile, party secretary Giulio Bernardi (Paolo Pierobon) forcibly takes custody of young Benito, but Ida refuses to give up without a fight.

The Good
Giovanna Mezzogiorno (Facing Window) is terrific as Ida, delivering a powerfully emotional performance that is utterly heartbreaking to watch. There's also strong support from Filippo Timi, who delivers a saturnine performance as Mussolini and also plays the adult Benito once Mussolini ascends to power. There's an amusing scene where Benito does a note-perfect impression of one of Mussolini's famous speeches, which is especially ironic because Timi himself doesn't actually play Mussolini at that stage of his life; instead, Mussolini is only seen in newsreel footage or represented by a statue.

The Great
Bellocchio's direction is extremely imaginative throughout, blending archive footage, fantasy sequences and clips from old movies (notably a devastating moment when Ida watches Chaplin's The Kid), as well as inventive use of titles and even snatches of opera to create a sort of heightened fictional reality. The film is also beautifully shot and scored (by Daniele Cipri and Carlo Crivelli, respectively) and there are some striking, memorable images, such as the beautiful shot of Ida climbing the asylum gate and flinging her letters into the snow.

Worth seeing?
Vincere is a beautifully made, superbly acted drama that packs a powerful emotional punch. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Vincere (15)
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Content updated: 24/09/2018 06:21

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