News from the Locarno Festival

Fermo immagine – day 10

“Vincere” (2009) by Marco Bellocchio


© Collection Cinémathèque suisse. Tous droits réservés


Fists in the pocket and a head that’s bursting. A mouth open to show the teeth, but issuing no sound. The huge family home isolated on the ridge of a hill, surrounded by snow that shows no signs of melting. The house and its stuffy, shut-up smell: the small rooms and the large terrace. And, beyond the courtyard, the road along which one can drive into town…

Like a map, which from the protagonist leads to the world around him, Marco Bellocchio’s film unfurls in our memory. Anyone familiar with his films will recognize Bobbio, the dialect and a few quips – “Va in Trebbia” (go to Trebbia). But rewatching it now, it is Italy that enters the frame in this film, so precisely locatable in terms of history and geography, and so powerful that it leaps out of the era in which it was made.

An Italy that goes beyond the ’68 revolution because, in the end, Ale is not a revolutionary, but a victim of himself. Like his brother Leone, or his sister Giulia. Or their mother, who sees nothing and understands little. Despite the propensity for irony (certain lines are indomitable – “Vuoi una caramella?”, do you want a sweet?) and a taste for verging on the grotesque, Bellocchio remains a tragic filmmaker because his characters are subject to a fate (the course of history) that overtakes and envelops them.

In this sense, I pugni in tasca (Fists in the Pocket) is a cultural-origin film, a film that already speaks to the relationship between the director and his material. A film to be watched and rewatched, even just to savour the beauty of the sound of the voices and faces speaking different languages.   

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