Tuesday, September 25, 2012


This Italian movie with English subtitles is shown from the perspective of Ida Dalser. Apparently, she's the woman who claimed to be Benito Mussolini's first wife.  The mother of his first born son named Benito Albino Mussolini.  For those not familiar with the political history of Italy, Benito Mussolini also known as Il Duce is the Fascist dictator who ruled the boot shaped nation from 1922 to 1943.

Their story starts in Trent in the year 1914 when the wealthy Ida first met the idealistic Benito. Their brief affair is very passionate with Ida being totally devoted to his principles and his ideals. She even sells everything she owes to finance a newspaper company for him. He was the fiery editor of the Socialist paper, Il Popolo D'Italia.  They were allegedly married although there are no existing documents to validate their union.  A year later, he got involved with a waitress named Rachele Guidi.  December 1915 he married Rachele and shunned Ida and the baby she bore him.

Totally ostracized, Ida was persecuted and incarcerated in numerous psychiatric hospitals. It seems that she and her son were erased from history by Mussolini's regime.  She became an inconvenience and had to kept out of sight from the public while he continued his reign of tyranny joining forces with the Nazis in 2nd World War.

This biopic was filmed with quick cuts and juxtapositions of actual black and white footage from the historical archives. Sometimes jarring segues with blaring operatic music, most scenes were quite dark both literally and figuratively.  The series of mental asylums and hospitals sequences were very difficult to watch. It was quite tragic and depressing to witness the cruelty bestowed on both Ida and her son.   But on the other hand, certain scenes were visually beautiful and neatly angled with sharp precision.  Earth toned palette and spot color were used for good effect.

Kudos to Giovanna Mezzogiorno, who plays Ida.  Present in almost every frame, she completely owned the character. A very challenging role that conveyed every nuance of  Ida's anguish with a single phrase or gesture. Her excellent performance is more than enough reason to endure this almost 2 hours biopic. 

"Vincere" is a tragic tale that boldly deserves to be told and not hidden away in some warehouse of dusty archives. As for the jerky way it was filmed, in essence I believe it does mirror the miserable life of the tormented Ida.  A woman that was unfairly punished for falling in love with a man whose lofty ideals were much bigger than anyone or any nation for that matter could handle.  

Quite sad, really.

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