In the Name of the Father
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Time Out saysAs title and opening make clear, a film about the tyrannies of paternalism: with a great deal of surrealist wit and much venom, Bellocchio lays into the absurdities of authority and its institutions. And by setting his film in a seedy boarding school for rich delinquents, run by Jesuits along military lines, Bellocchio creates a rich target indeed: what monsters are spawned! The result is sheer anarchic fantasy, alternately feverish and despondent, but always superbly realised. On a tougher, allegorical register, it's about the failure of a revolution, about the Italian church's capacity to survive, and about replacing one oppression with another. What lifts the film into that special area inhabited by Buñuel is Bellocchio's capacity for healthy blasphemy and its translation into startling images. Rich, bizarre and original.