Vincere (Marco Bellocchio, 2009, Italy/France: Italian)

In competition for the Palme d’Or in 2009 at Cannes, Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere is a riveting biopic of Benito Mussolini’s secret lover Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) whose loving obsession with the fascist dictator and her desire to unveil the truth of their relationship are challenged and eclipsed by Mussolini’s destructive will to power. What is revelatory in this biographical depiction of a period in Mussolini’s life is less about the dictator and more about the physical and discursive violence enacted against Ida and her son, the fascist regime’s way of controlling and manipulating information at the expense of individual lives. Splicing real historical footage from the period between the World Wars, director Bellocchio offers a stylized rendition of Ida’s obsession and suffering as both biographical testament and political allegory. Or, as Roger Ebert eloquently puts it in his review of the film: Mussolini’s “treatment of her was a rehearsal for how he would treat Italy.” Synopsis Author: Kenneth Chan





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