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The movie relates the tragic story of Ida Dalser, who fell for the future Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, supported him while he was unemployed in the early 1910s, and married him, presumably around 1914. She bore Mussolini a son, Benito Albino, before the outbreak of World War I. The two lost touch during the war years and, upon discovering him again in a hospital during the war, she also discovered Rachele Guidi, who had married Mussolini in the meantime, and a daughter borne to Guidi and Mussolini in 1910
For more about Vincere and the Vincere Blu-ray release, see the Vincere Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on October 26, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Filippo Timi
» See full cast & crew
Vincere Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, October 26, 2010
Screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Marco Bellocchio's "Vincere" (2009) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye. The supplemental features on the disc include an interview with actor Filippo Timi and the film's original theatrical trailer. In Italian, with optional English subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
The world knows that Benito Mussolini was a monster. What the world does not know is exactly what type of a monster he was. Veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio's Vincere (Victory), which was screened and nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or award at last year's Cannes Film Festival, sheds some light on the subject.
Mussolini (Filippo Timi, In memoria di me) was a young journalist and passionate socialist when he met Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno, La bestia nel cuore). The two spent plenty of time together, and Dalser assumed that she had found the man she would grow old with. When Mussolini shared with her that he would like to have his own newspaper, Dalser sold everything she owned to make his dream become a reality.
But Mussolini became obsessed with the newspaper and politics, and soon started ignoring Dalser. When World War I began, he was already a controversial political figure within the Socialist Party, openly urging the Italian government to intervene in the conflict.
Eventually, Mussolini's vocal support for the war led to his expulsion from the Socialist Party. Shortly after, together with other socialists and nationalists who shared his radical views, Mussolini founded a new, powerful political movement whose members and sympathizers began identifying themselves as Fascisti.
Mussolini married Dasler and the two had a son. He also joined the Italian Army, but was seriously injured and sent back home. While recovering from his wounds, Mussolini became firmly convinced that Italy needed a leader with a strong hand and clear mind.
Around the same time Dalser discovered that Mussolini had married another woman, Rachele Guidi (Michela Cescon, Quando sei nato non puoi più nasconderti). When he recovered Dalser attempted to confront him, but Mussolini ordered his men to arrest and isolate her at her sister's home. Then he ordered that all existing documents confirming his marriage to Dalser are destroyed.
Shocked by Mussolini's determination to erase all traces of their relationship, Dalser started writing to every major newspaper and government institution in Italy – thus enraging Mussolini, who ordered his black shirts (the National Security Volunteer Militia) to lock her up in a mental asylum in Pergine Valsugana. Dalser managed to escape once, but was captured and sent to a madhouse in Venice, where she died in 1937.
Vincere is a powerful film that effectively condemns Mussolini without making him look like a lunatic who miraculously managed to captivate the hearts and minds of millions of Italians. In fact, Bellocchio spends very little time chronicling Mussolini's fascinating political career (mostly by showing bits of archival footage). We learn a lot about his obsessions and passing enthusiasms, but the focus of attention in Vincere is primarily on Dalser and her struggle to prove that she was legally married to the Fascist dictator.
Vincere is terrifically lensed. Many of the asylum scenes, for instance, are beautiful and at the same time incredibly unsettling. The emphasis on period detail in the film is outstanding as well. Like every single one of Bellocchio's films since La balia, Vincere also has an exceptional music score courtesy of Carlo Crivelli (La spettatrice).
Note: In 2009, Vincere was nominated for Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film also granted four Silver Ribbon awards, including Best Actress (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and Best Cinematography (Daniele Ciprì), by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.
Vincere Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Marco Bellocchio's Vincere arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye.
This is a very strong high-definition transfer. Fine object detail is outstanding, clarity terrific, and contrast levels consistent throughout the entire film. Edge-enhancement is not a serious issue of concern; neither is macroblocking. I also did not see any traces of heavy noise reduction. Generally speaking, the close-ups convey outstanding depth, and detail is indeed very impressive. There are only a few large panoramic scenes, and they also look terrific. Furthermore, the film has a very unique color-scheme that has also benefited greatly from the solid high-definition treatment - the variety of prominent blues and browns look beautiful. Finally, there are a couple of scenes where I noticed some extremely mild compression artifacts creeping in, but the overall quality of the presentation is indeed very solid. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Vincere Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one audio track on this Blu-ray disc: Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Artificial Eye have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature.
The Italian DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is very strong. The bass is potent and punchy, the rear channels very intelligently used, and the high-frequencies not overdone. The dialog is clean, crisp, stable, and very easy to follow. There are no balance issues with Carlo Crivelli's wonderful soundtrack either. On the contrary, the music is very effective and beautifully mixed with the dialog (some of the most dramatic scenes in Vincere are the ones where the music has a key role). Lastly, while viewing the film I did not detect any disturbing pops, cracks, hissings, or dropouts to report in this review. I must also note that the English translation is excellent.
Vincere Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Note: The supplemental features on this Blu-ray disc are encoded in 720p and 1080p. Therefore, they are perfectly playable on all North American PS3s and SAs.
Interview - an informative interview with actor Filippo Timi in which he discusses how he prepared to play Benito Mussolini, as well as the message of the film. In Italian, with imposed English subtitles. (11 min, 720p).
Trailer - the original theatrical trailer for Vincere. In Italian, with imposed English subtitles. (2 min, 1080p).
Vincere Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
What makes Vincere such a special film is the fact that it manages to effectively show what an incredibly cruel and dangerous individual Benito Mussolini was by spending very little time studying his persona. Interestingly enough, it is through Ida Dalser's incredible story that we learn a lot about Il Duce. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of British distributors Artificial Eye, looks and sounds terrific. It is also Region-Free. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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