A passionate tale of love and betrayal, made more riveting by Giovanna Mezzogiorno's portrayal of Ida Dalser, Mussolini's first wife who was abandoned by him and ultimately locked up for life in a mental institution.
Filippo Timi, who plays the role of Benito Mussolini and his son by Ida, also provides an outstanding performance in his role of Il Duce, which he later caricatures -- in his role as the grown-up son of Ida -- mimicking Mussolini rallying the troops and citizens.
As the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) puts it, the combination of "drama, archive footage, and music creating a highly cinematic oratorio of enormous emotional force" (synopsis) sets the heroic tone of the movie.
And, at the movie's end, makes the audience wanting for more.
This is the film to show your class when discussing American foreign policy. Trey Parker, the creator of South Park, shows us the Ugly American in action -- stop-motion animation style.
See how Americans, thinking themselves as superheroes (perhaps because they grew up reading The Justice League), destroy the Parisian landmarks in a minute or less. Of course, they also pat themselves on the back for a job well done stopping terrorists from blowing up the city.
This 2004 comedy film skewers not just American politics (both Left and Right), but also Hollywood, action movies, and politically-vocal Hollywood actors. It also features one of the longest gratuitous and graphic sex scenes ever in movies using marionettes as actors.
Of course watching this film from so-called Third World lens, I couldn't help but nod in agreement at the ineptness of Team America's swashbuckling braggadocio.
On second thought, though, I realized that by parodizing through their film the incompetence of American foreign policy, Trey Parker and company were also underlining their country's value for freedom, and how that virtue qualifies them to indeed act as "the world's police."
Emir Kusturica's 1995 film, Undergound (or, Once Upon a Time There Was a Country), plots how the madness of violence and war can change not just the landscapes of our lives but also the maps into our humanity.
Read the synopsis of the film from Wikipedia (where I also got the poster photo). And here's a YouTube video of the film's opening scene:
Here we see the film's two main characters, Blacky and Marko, two rogues of friends who start off from playing Robin Hood to becoming gunrunners before their passion for a stage actress tests their loyalties to each other and to their country. Their story parallels Yugoslavia's history from the German invasion to the Yugoslav wars (thus the alternate movie title).
This is a must-see movie not just for its storyline or theme but also for some memorable scenes, to name just a few: the bombing of Belgrade, right after that opening scene; Ivan's search in the underground for his pet chimp Soni; and the paradisaical ending with the ironic breaking away of an island.
Here comes the holiday break for Christmas and the New Year. It's a two-week break for those in academe, as school resumes in January 4, 2010 yet.
I plan to spend the holidays catching up on my recreational reading and watching movies while in the company of family and friends back in Leyte.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year everyone!
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