Synopsis: There is a secret in the life of Mussolini: a wife and a son, who was born, acknowledged and then denied. The secret bears a name: Ida Dalser. It is a dark page in history, one ignored in the official biography of the Duce. When Ida meets Mussolini in Milan, he is the editor of Avanti and an ardent Socialist who intends to guide the masses towards an anti-clerical, anti-monarchical, socially emancipated future. Ida already had a fleeting encounter with him in Trento and remained thunderstruck. Ida truly believes in him and his ideas: Mussolini is her hero. In order to finance Popolo d’Italia, a newspaper he has founded and the nucleus of the forthcoming Fascist Party, Ida sells everything she has: her apartment, her beauty salon, her furniture and jewelry. [Synopsis courtesy of Cannes Film Festival]
Round-up: "Maybe I’m just a sucker for any historical drama that doesn’t go plod plod plod, but so far Vincere is easily my favorite film in Competition this year, despite being one of my least anticipated," The AV Club's Mike D'Angelo ARGET="_blank">noted of "Vincere" during the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, going so far as to say that "if Fish Tank’s fine but unremarkable Katie Jarvis beats Mezzogiorno for Best Actress, I’m breaking out some actual nunchuks." Overall, though, "Vincere"'s premiere was met with a generally mixed response. Screen's Lee Marshall noted that "as a study of the personal tensions behind Italian history’s grand events, 'Vincere' lacks the sensitivity of the director’s Aldo Moro kidnapping drama Buongiorno Notte; but as a stirring portrait of a woman wronged, it delivers the emotional goods." While The Hollywood Reporter's Natasha Senjanovic says of the film: "The damage done by Mussolini as he ruthlessly rose to power and became a bloodthirsty ruler in his quest for domination is so much greater than the two destroyed lives of "Vincere" that the film simultaneously cancels the very empathy it evokes." Variety's Jay Weissberg is much more impressed: "Conceived as grand opera set inside delineated space, it's a thrilling, at times brilliant piece of staging that never forgets the emotional pull of either the tragic personal tale or the ramifications of history"