Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Novecento (1976)

Also Known As:
[Twentieth Century]; 1900
Version:
Language:
English
Length:
302 minutes
Review Format:
DVD
Year:
1976
Countries:
France…
Italy…
West Germany…
Predominant Genre:
Drama
Director:
Bernardo BERTOLUCCI…
Outstanding Performances:
Laura BETTI…
Robert DE NIRO…
Gérard DEPARDIEU…
Sterling HAYDEN…
Burt LANCASTER…
Dominique SANDA…
Stefania SANDRELLI…
Romolo VALLI…
Premiss:
The lives and interactions of two men: One born of peasant stock; the other to a land owner.
Themes:
Alienation
Atheism
Christianity
Coming-of-age
Compassion
Communism
Corporate Power
Courage
Destiny
Emotional repression
Empathy
Family
Friendship
Grieving
Identity
Individualism
Justice
Loneliness
Love
Loyalty
Materialism
Narcissism
Nature
Nostalgia
Personal
Personal change
Political
Political Correctness
Republicanism
Sadomasochism
Schizophrenia
Sex
Sexual Repression
Social class
Society
Snobbery
Solipsism
The State
Stereotyping
Totalitarianism
White culture
Similar to:
Gattopardo

The Poor You Will Always Have With You

Summary: Five hours of Marxism for kids - yet riveting.

Ravishing to look at and superbly-acted Socialist epic, but the well-tuned operatic performances and fine music cannot completely conceal the disjointed, agitprop nature of the endeavor.

Here, Fascism is at the core of Aristocracy and inevitably produces the nationalist wars which serve as distractions from internal political-strife as well as being culls of the poor whenever there is economic hardship and too many mouths to feed. This is perfectly-captured by an abrupt change in dramatic tone from bucolic sentimentality to agrarian realism after Mussolini rises to power in Italy and sets in motion temporarily-insane political changes. Yet over-simplified politics and some inaccuracy in its portrayal of the reasons for the rise of Fascism make this a weak anti-fascist movie.

Rich landowners are presented as solely-responsible for sponsoring Fascism. Keen to maintain feudalism, they encourage and turn blind eyes to the violence of the Blackshirts: A well-depicted, morally-decadent  aristocracy somewhat out of touch with reality. Yet, for Fascism to spread, it must have possessed some kind of psychological attraction for the common people, too. Mussolini was not a member of the social elite, but he could speak to the crowds in their own language; more accurately explaining his general popularity.

The usual sexual repression & resultant perversion, well-evidenced in all White cultures, becomes the simplistic explanation for so much that happens here that one begins to wonder if Whites are totally sex-obsessed. Either that or they just do not know any better. The big failing of this movie lies in its characters being brilliantly-acted but under-written ciphers whose rather dull personal neuroses eclipse the political drama unfolding so beautifully before our eyes.


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