1900

Film

Period and swashbuckler films

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Time Out says

International tensions and discords are often mainsprings of interest in a film, and the fundamental contradiction between political line and status as glossy commodity might have made Bertolucci's 1900 fascinating. But whether one takes the two-part movie as a glamorous epic or as a lengthy advertisement for the Italian communist party, it still looks like a major catastrophe. Even leaving aside the questions about its sexual politics, the film is crippled by its ineptitude as 'popular' drama (the dynastic rivalries spanning the years, the convulsive deaths, the messy marriages are all strictly sub-Jacqueline Susann) and its manifest inadequacy as political argument (Donald Sutherland is established as Fascism incarnate and then metamorphosed into something like a Disney cartoon villain). The mannered elegance of the camerawork and lighting cocoons the whole sad mess within a veneer of utterly spurious 'style'. (Also shown in a 250-minute version.

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