8 July 2012 | runamokprods
Complex and thought provoking
Made the same year as Bertolucci's better known 'The Conformist', this look at the legacy of fascism in a small Italian town certainly has many strong points. Beautifully shot, with some interesting plot twists, and subtly surreal touches it's always interesting.
A son returns to a town where his father – an anti-fascist fighter in the years of Mussolini – was murdered by person(s) unknown, and has been made into a martyr and a hero by the locals. The son meets those who knew his father, and as he tries to discover the truth about what happened in the past, the reality gets more and more complex.
A touch of the conventional thriller runs through this in a good way, keeping the story focused, even when the film-making techniques are a little more obscure or baroque.
Only the slightly flat acting, which feels a bit phony and distancing, keep this from seeming more like a full-on masterpiece. It's as if Bertolucci wanted to engage only our heads, when nothing would have been lost by pulling in our hearts as well - something I think he succeeded with in "The Conformist"
That said, given that many see this as Bertolucci's best film, I'll watch it again.