Marco Bellocchio is one of the most prominent European filmmakers. Following his striking debut “Fists in the Pocket” (1965) about a pathological Italian family and the hypocrisy of the middle-class society, he was dubbed the leader of Italian rebels against the establishment.
All of his works are personal in nature, based on the life of his family and the examination of the Italian society, the latter of which he describes with brutal sincerity but also with hope that things change for the better. By the turn of the century, Bellocchio had already fully matured as an artist, and began again to contest the morality imposed by the Church and the government, this time in a more universal manner to reach wider audiences, not just Italians. These films made in the new century are those that we will present at the Two Riversides Festival this year.
In “My Mother’s Smile” (2002), the protagonist, a painter and an atheist, is forced to take part in the beatification of his own mother. The superb “Good Morning, Night” (2003) shows how even the most extreme viewpoints can be flexible, when the Italian ex-prime minister Aldo Moro is taken by terrorists and develops mutual feelings with one of his kidnappers. It is very characteristic of Bellocchio to use the past in order to teach a lesson to the contemporary audiences. This is the case with his “Vincere” (2009), an untold chapter in the life of Benito Mussolini, and “Blood of My Blood” (2015), in which the past intertwines with the present; the times of the Inquisition with the rule of the mafia; religious dogmas with political ones.
In “Dormant Beauty” (2012), he tells the story of Eluana Englaro, a woman in a coma whose father fights for the right to euthanise his daughter, a case that got wide coverage in Italian media. The film shows how the media manipulate human emotions and how every personal experience can be turned into a tool for a political agenda. Just how observant and sensitive Bellocchio is to intimate aspects of life is evidenced by his “Sweet Dreams” (2016), a film about the strength of the bond between mother and child.
At the Two Riversides Festival, we will introduce our audiences to Bellocchio’s works beginning with his most recent one, Palme d’Or nominated “The Traitor” (2019), an epic story about Tomasso Buscetta, the boss of Cosa Nostra, his trial, and meetings with judges Falcone and Borsalino. Who is the eponymous traitor? This is up to you to decide.