Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1900 (1976)

I had seen The Last Emperor and Stealing Beauty, works by great director Bernardo Bertolucci. Both movies didn't impress me much. I almost fell asleep watching The Last Emperor in theatre years ago, after it won Academy Awards' The Best Picture, and was still bored when I watched it again 2 - 3 months ago. Last night I tried another work of him, 1900, an epic about 2 Italian men. It's 5 hours long, but I finished it in one sitting.

1900 is a great movie and it's one of the best Italian movies I've ever seen. There are so many beautiful scenes here and I praise the director and the cinematographer. The picture above is the scene which I think the most beautiful, where Olmo catches Ada with his net. The location and the colour is wonderful. The DVD is great. Often great movies are ruined by bad quality of the DVD.

Bertolucci himself prefers to call the movie 'Novecento' (the 20th century). The synopsis is as follows: In the year of 1900, Olmo and Alfredo, are born on the same day. Olmo is a bastard son of a farmer, while Alfredo is the son of the rich landowner. They become friends, but as time goes by, Olmo becomes a socialist, while Alfredo a fascist. To underline the life of farmers, the director depicts the movie in 4 parts: the summer of happy childhood, the autumn of adolescence, the fascist winter, and the spring of liberation. The change of times, from the beginning of 20th century when landowners are very rich and powerful, until the liberation day in April 1945, when the farmers can hold a trial against their landowner, is well told; plus an epilogue where both Olmo and Alfredo, now 80 years old, play like little children again.

The cast are excellent, led by Robert De Niro and Gérard Depardieu. I never thought Donald Sutherland could be so evil. Meanwhile, Laura Betti's laughter is very like a witch's. I also like the lovely soundtrack by Ennio Morricone. I am familiar with that tune and now I know which movie it came from.

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