One of the strangest and most aggressively fragmented films I’ve watched this year – Vincere follows Benito Mussolini’s mistress Ida Dalser through her decline. Very little screen time is paid to the affair itself. The majority of the film is spent wandering  the psychiatric wards where Dalser was kept captive for the latter half of her life. The primary focus of Vincere is Dalser’s obsession with Mussolini despite his indifference and eventual abhorrence towards her.

Dalser’s irrational reverence and dedication to Mussolini could be gesturing towards a commentary on Il Duce’s followers over the course of National Fascism in Italy. The metaphor is made richer by Dalser’s conception of Mussolini’s first-born son (Benito Albino, who also perishes in the captivity of a mental hospital). The film is well-acted (Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Filippo Timi deserve all the accolades they are getting) and imaginatively-conceived. Animations, historical footage and a musical score that assaults the ears combine in a fascinating collage of a movie. My main concern is that it just isn’t so pleasurable to watch. Trying to tell Fascist Italy’s story through the keyhole of Ida Dalser’s life suffocates the film. And without much levity, Vincere is likely to run an audience’s mood into the ground. Still, if you’re in the market for some novel film making, you aren’t going to find much better this week . . . $7


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The Fan’s Guide to Avoiding Movies that Suck Eggs and Shelling Out the $5 for Movies that Will Make Your Day

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