mandag 2. september 2013

"A Journey Through Italy"


Original title: La meglio gioventù
Year: 2003
Country: Italy
Language: Italian
Number: 1019
Director: Marco Tullio Giordana
Starring: Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Jasmine Trinca, Sonia Bergamasco
Cannes: Un Certain Regard Award

Marco Tullio Giordana's The Best of Youth is a six hour long epic about two brothers named Nicola and Matteo, two baby boomers whom we follow in course of five decades from 1966-2003. In the summer of '66 they both planned to take a trip to Norway, but before that they both tried to save a young girl named Giorgia from an abusive sanitarium that didn't gave her the right treatment. They tried to convince her father to take her back, but he refused, and the two boys decided to keep her, but they lost her, and they saw no other choices then to continue their journey. But Matteo have change his mind and Nicola must travel alone, while Matteo enlist in the army. From then on the two brothers have gone their separate ways and both experience two quite different lives.
The Best of Youth is an extraordinary film that follows two individuals and how they both are effected by Italy's resent history, like the rebellious sixties and the uncertain seventies. But the two brothers have their own different way of dealing with history, and it's much because of Giorgia. Nicola, the youngest one tries to change history by fighting for all the disabled people's rights to a decent life instead of being locked up in a dark cellar. While Matteo have a more resigned world view, and decided to be a part of the system itself, and he once even worked as a policeman beating up demonstrators in a demonstration in which Nicola participated.
Besides from their careers, they both have a tough private life. Nicola falls for the left-wing activist Giulia, whom he have a child with. But Giulia is more committed to her fight against capitalism then her own daughter. Matteo have commitment issues and is basically just committed to his work as a policemen. But there's some episodes in which he can't hide his anger towards society, and we know that this was not the life he intended.
But that's how real life is. It's unpredictable, like the first hour alone isn't enough to show us how it will end, like many other movies do. And some of the events are shocking and most important unexpected. Relationships come and goes, so do other people's life. And yes we can always ask us self "What if" when it comes to the outcome, but we don't question the motivations behind their actions, because of the political system they are living in.
The late Roger Ebert always used to say "No good movie is too long, just as no bad movie is short enough". I could have watched this movie for six more hours, because of its epic scale and a whole bunch of interesting characters I would have been more than happy to follow all the way to their graves. But the movie had to stop sometimes, just like life itself have to stop sometimes, and I must say they picked the right ending. It's indeed one of this centuries best movies, with a superb cast and a masterminded epic story that shows us real people living real unpredictable life. Thumbs up.
Rating: A+
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