19 August 2003 | RResende
Guessing the future Bertolucci
I found interesting to watch this movie since I noticed in it some characteristics that were to be strongly noticed in later films, such as the pleasure for the beauty of the composition (every image caught by the camera is very carefully thought before, considering all the elements in it, from a mirror to a chair, to a flower pot; and also studying its position, wheter the person speaking should be in the center or not, distances, etc.). Bertolucci has also put, I think so at least, a lot of time in this details (which marks a difference from other filming methodes such as those of, let's say, Godard, even though both are worth watching), which grant the film a great artistic quality, since it is very beautiful. I also see in this film the tendency for mixing stories in different times (remember the last emperor?).
A part from this observations, this film has a story to be followed, not as intriguing or as fascinating as others... but still worthy to reflect on. Even though this is a political film, that's not even subtle or hidden, the main theme of this one is, in my point of view, the creation of myths, the creation of heros, idols... Fernando Pessoa, a portuguese poet, said that a myth is "a nothing which is everything". This film confirms it. Athos Magnani, the father, is an absolute nothing, despite his pseudo idealism, he made nothing in concrete except... becoming the hero of those people, except becoming one more reason for the fight. Even though he was admired for that, he wasn't particularly smart... just a bit more educated, and he just saw the chance of immortality... in his death. This is a myth, and myths, at least like this, only exist if people believe them.
Beautiful landscapes, not spectacular acting (the actor who plays both athos Magnani is not exceptionaly convincing as the son but gives an interesting performance as the father). Also a good use of the non original music especially the excerpts from Il Rigolletto. I too enjoyed that the director resisted to the temptation of showing exactly the murdering; he did it in a better way. All this and a Bernardo Bertolucci starting to reveal all he would become.