Marco Bellocchio: per il Los Angeles Times è un “perennial provocateur”

Saul Austerlitz sul Los Angeles Times tratteggia un lungo ed accuratissimo profilo  di Marco Bellocchio: un tesoro nazionale, uno dei più straordinari registi italiani del dopoguerra, capace di ritrovare negli anni della maturità una felicità espressiva inesausta ed una lucidità critica, che ha pochi eguali nel panorama europeo.

Ecco alcuni estratti.

Bellocchio’s latest film, “Vincere,” is the most explosive yet of his provocations, documenting the rise to power of future fascist dictator Benito Mussolini from the perspective of the wife he abandoned. Bellocchio’s most striking film in years, “Vincere,” which opens in L.A. theaters on Friday, offers the opportunity to revisit the career of one of the lesser-known icons of the Italian New Wave…

Disgusted by cynicism and skeptical of rootless idealism, Bellocchio sketches — repeatedly and with great precision — a world rife with both. He is, as ever, appalled by the hypocrisy and cruelty of the blinkered idealists he encounters — be they religious devotees or the political dreamers of “China Is Near” (1967) and, decades later, “Good Morning, Night” (2003) — but his revulsion has grown tempered, mellowed into a horrified bemusement. For all their surface differences, his films tell the same tale, time and again: one of innocence betrayed by callous experience.

After that initial furious blast of energy, Bellocchio’s profile receded. Like Robert Altman…

Negli anni ’80 certamente la sua stella è sembrata appannarsi in un eccesso di psicanalisi e di simbolismo onirico, ma con La Balia e L’ora di religione-Il sorriso di mia madre, il suo nome è tornato alla ribalta in maniera prorompente.

“My Mother’s Smile” (2002), Bellocchio’s return to international attention, ends with a farcical duel, and rightfully so, for the film itself is an attempt — an intentionally ridiculous one, but an attempt nonetheless — to parry and thrust with the Catholic Church and its death grip on Italian society. Bellocchio drapes the film in shadows, like any good chronicler of the Vatican would, but the mood is more satirical than dramatic. The film is buoyed by the unglamorous, unshaven face of star Sergio Castellitto, flummoxed by his decidedly unsaintly mother’s being a candidate for beatification.

Bellocchio’s next film, the magnificent “Good Morning, Night,” tracks the Red Brigade radicals who kidnapped former Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro in 1978. Stately and eventually tragic, the film is austere enough to be a Rossellini picture, but its occasional bursts of visual poetry give “Good Morning” its heft: The kidnappers’ feverish visions of the glorious proletariat on the march, or the image of Moro striding the empty Roman streets, animate this unsettling portrait of murderous idealism and political delusion.

Vincere, ancora una volta incomprensibilmente snobbato in Italia ed al Festival di Cannes 2009, è invece uno dei suoi capolavori più travolgenti: un film coraggioso, modernissimo, profondamente amaro. Amatissimo in Francia, sta ricevendo un’accoglienza entusiastica anche negli Stati Uniti.

“Vincere’s” link with Italian neorealism may seem tenuous, given that the film shares more with the traditions of opera than of “Bicycle Thieves.” “Vincere” is like Verdi as staged by Sergei Eisenstein — pulsating blasts of music are interrupted by marching lines of Futurist text dancing across the screen, making pronouncements like “WAR IS THE WORLD’S ONLY HYGIENE.” And yet, “Vincere,” like its predecessors, turns the political into the personal…

“Vincere” rounds out the trilogy of political villainy, showing that Bellocchio, at age 70, remains fearless when tackling the sacred cows — or blind spots — of Italian life. “Vincere” is a melodrama with pretensions to the operatic, but it is also, like all of Bellocchio’s work, a study in human frailty and grace — a black canvas studded with shafts of brilliant light.

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