Vincere

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Behind every great man is a great woman—and if you’re Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, there are ways of getting rid of such pesky distractions, along with the child you’d rather forget. Vincere, like 2004’s riveting Hitler bunker drama Downfall, never romanticizes its subject, but rather depicts the leader-to-be (keenly performed by Filippo Timi) as a savvy operator shifting between moral poles with little hesitation. Falling in love with the young Socialist organizer is starstruck Ida (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), who weathers his mood shifts in marathon bouts of hate sex. But after his political career takes off, Benito is gone from her life, and soon enough, Ida finds herself forcibly escorted to an insane asylum. Boldly melodramatic yet undeniably powerful, Vincere is a return to accessibility for director Marco Bellocchio, who swaddles his movie in color and operatic flourishes. It makes sense. Saturday, Sept 26 at 8:30pm—Joshua Rothkopf

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New York Film Festival 2009

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