Acclaimed Italian director Marco Bellocchio (Fists in the Pocket; Devil in the Flesh) delivers his boldest work yet, an audacious, visually stunning film that the Village Voice calls “a stylistic knockout” about fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and the woman he loved, scorned, denounced and then wrote out of history. Rising actor Filippo Timi is magnetic in a dual role as both the steamrolling dictator and the son he refuses to acknowledge. And Giovanna Mezzogiorno (Love In The Time Of Cholera) delivers a career-making, award-winning performance as Ida Dalser, the lover who wouldn’t go away. Bellocchio is a master of eroticism and their scenes of abandon are so powerful and reckless (The Hollywood Reporter called them “steamy”), it’s easy to understand why Dalser could never give him up. His rise to power and her descent into an insane asylum are tragic counterpoints in a doomed romance. Dalser may have been written off at the time, but Bellocchio and Mezzogiorno allow her a final, unexpected triumph in this cinematic masterwork.
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