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Old and New: Marco Bellocchio Series At Museum of Modern Art

Old and New: Marco Bellocchio Series At Museum of Modern Art

When Marco Bellocchio’s startling first film — the dark, explosive family
drama Fists in the Pocket — appeared
in 1965, he arrived with a fresh, audacious voice and eye. Amazingly,
he remains a vibrant filmmaker all these decades later. Now 74, he may be one of the
living Italian masters, but he continues to create work that lives most vividly
at the place where family meets politics, where private emotions challenge institutions
including — and especially — the church and the state.

Eighteen of Bellocchio’s films, including his brand-new Dormant Beauty, will be included in a
series at the Museum of Modern Art from April 16 through May 7th. Bellocchio
himself will introduce the opening night film, The Wedding Director (2006) as well as Dormant Beauty on the 17th (it opens in New York
on June 6th). Isabelle Huppert stars in a story inspired by a real-life legal battle over the fate of a woman who has been in a coma for 17 years.  

One other highlight: his 2009 film Vincere, (translated as Win),
 a visual and emotional swirl of history
about Mussolini’s mistress. Giovanna Mezzogiorno is extraordinary is Ida Dalser,
besotted with the young, ambitious journalist Mussolini, even after he abandons
her and their young son. As he rises to power, Ida becomes obsessed. In this
sympathetic portrait she is a woman who clings to the truth — she is the mother
of his son — even while her erratic behavior leads the world to treat her as a
lunatic.

In almost operatic style, the beautifully-photographed film captures
the dreams and illusions of the period: a kiss in a dark alley in Milan, the
brightness of the open countryside, black-and-white news footage of the
theatrical dictator. Yet it is Mezzogiorno’s emotional fire that defines the
film; she is at once powerfully individual  and a metaphor for a country seduced and
abandoned by a tyrant. As in so many Bellocchio works, the personal and political
meet, and bring the film fiercely to life.   

A complete schedule for the series is at moma.org 

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