Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Best of Youth|
Actors: Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Jasmine Trinca, Adriana Asti, Sonia Bergamasco
Director: Marco Tullio Giordana
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
In the award-winning epic tradition of THE GODFATHER and COLD MOUNTAIN, THE BEST OF YOUTH has wowed critics and earned honors at numerous film festivals worldwide. As Italy explodes in an era of social unrest, a single ill... more »
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Unique and unforgettable: film as novel
Nathan Andersen | Florida | 12/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It takes some time to get into the story of this film, and the filmmakers take their time telling the story. With most films, that would be a criticism, but in this case it is a signal of what is distinctive and wonderful about this film -- easily one of the most worthwhile and compelling fictions ever created for the big screen. After about an hour and a half I was completely hooked and there was no chance I wasn't going to stay and watch both parts of this six-hour film, which is by turns touching, comic, and devastating. (It is not, by the way, that the first hour and a half are slow, but that they are designed to give you time to get to know the characters -- rest assured that the film is never boring -- unless the very idea of a subtitled film about people from another country bores you.) Liberated from the need to tell their story in a two or three hour scope, the filmmakers opted to make it not so much about a single event or action that affects the lives of a few people but about the people themselves as their lives unfold in complex and unpredictable ways in connection with the events taking place in Italy and in their families over a period of three decades: a wonderful cast of characters played by remarkable actors who show them convincingly aging and changing over the course of about thirty years. We have time to get to know them, and care about them as people, to the point where they become like family. It is hard to credit before watching this film the claims by numerous critics that after six hours they didn't want it to be over -- but in my case at the end I absolutely agreed. Though it is not strictly speaking necessary and the film already comes to a perfect conclusion -- and is probably impossible, given that the film ends in the year 2000 -- I found myself wishing there were a third part. In that sense, it is closer to television or to the novel than to most films. It is also close to television in its intimacy, told as it is mostly through closeups -- but it is wonderful to see that intimate attention to detail brought to life on the big screen. Still, for its scope and grandeur and power, and for its ability to connect intimate details to issues of extremely wide scope both historical and contemporary, it is very much a cinematic epic. There are a few moments that test the credibility of the audience -- but somehow it all works to give the kind of enjoyable and moving experience that we often seek but rarely find in the cinema. Definitely a film to see in the theaters if you get lucky enough to have the chance (Miramax has done a very poor job distributing this: holding on to it for a couple of years and then not knowing what to do with it and getting it out to only a few theaters: now it is running the College film festival circuit, so keep an eye out for it there; I got the chance to see it only because I brought it to the film series I run in Saint Petersburg, FL), but it is definitely a must when it comes out on DVD in February."
Benjamin | ATLANTA, Gabon | 12/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Italian film is a masterpiece, one of the greatest works I've ever seen in my life. I'm glad I invested myself in the film when it was played in two parts at a local theater this summer. Director Marco Tullio Giordana's epic is six hours long, but attending the film was an incredibly moving and special experience. It's the story of two very different brothers, Nicola and Matteo, and how their family coped with the last 40 years of social, personal and political upheaval in Italy. The lead actors, Luigi Lo Cascio and Alessio Boni, each give powerful and believeable performances as their characters mature over 40 years. The scope of this film's story is gigantic, filled with fascinating, well-defined characters, and it never steps wrong. It has marvelous actors, a great script and beautiful cinematography. Most of my favorite movies this year featured some big quest or journey, an attempt to discover something new or find a way to grow, and THE BEST OF YOUTH featured the grandest journeys, the most interesting people, the most beautiful sites, the deepest tragedies and the most fulfilling discoveries. The act of going to the theater to see it - making two trips in two weeks - became an endeavor, and the movie rewards those who invest their time in it. This is the best movie I saw in 2005."
A masterpiece to get lost in.
Paul Kolas | Worcester, MA USA | 06/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There have been precious few films in any language to offer the profound pleasures of Giordana's magnificent saga of life in Italy between 1966 and 2003. Centered around the lives of two brothers, Nicola and Matteo, the 6 hour running time becomes an afterthought as we follow them through the thickets of the Florence floods of 1966, the Red Brigades of the 70s, the Mafia scandals in Sicily in the 80s, up to recent times. Nicola and Matteo meet many people along the way who will affect their lives in unforgettable, and sometimes tragic, ways. Giordana's masterful direction pulls you into this story and never lets go. I've rarely been this moved and enriched by any movie, one that is supremely generous in its emotions and its enveloping wisdom. I can't recommend it highly enough and dearly hope it will be available on DVD as soon as possible."
Where life is beautiful . . .
Ronald Scheer | Los Angeles | 09/13/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This six-hour made-for-TV movie is a drama about a middle class Italian family that covers over 35 years of modern Italian history. Its central characters are two brothers of different temperaments, whose lives take very different paths. The overall message of the film, that life is beautiful, is played out against beautifully photographed travelogue footage that ranges from Turin to Palermo, with side trips to Norway, and a cast of often strikingly photogenic performers. More important, the film's dramatic conflicts, which hold our interest over the length of six hours, include a political dimension as one of the many characters becomes involved in a radical leftist cell, whose mission is to target and assassinate members of the professional and academic elite. The film has been praised for its refusal to simply sensationalize its subject but to humanize all those affected (would-be assassin, potential victim, and police inspector) and represent them with some psychological truth rather than stereotyping them.
During the course of the film, a new generation emerges to soften the harsher legacy of recent history and to demonstrate that if life is beautiful it is in its returning promise that the failures of the past need not discourage our hopes for the future. While all of the cast bring to life characters that are plausibly real, the performance of Alessio Boni as the darkly tormented brother Matteo is a standout. The music score ranges from pop music and jazz of the 1960s to haunting compositions by Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla. It's been a long while since we've seen really great cinema from Italy. May this be the beginning of a new wave."