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1900 (DVD)

DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 25.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A big project overwhelmed by it's own intentions Jan. 6 2002
Format:VHS Tape
"Novecento" was one of the most eagerly awaited movies of the seventies. It was meant to be, as Bertolucci himself intended, the italian "Gone with the wind", an epic story about what happened in the bel paese during the first half of the twentieth century, the political turmoil between WW1 and WW2, the rise and fall of the fascism, the birth and widespread of the communist and socialist movements as a response to the social unjustice. There was a big project, the financial means to realise it (american studios financing communist propaganda - can you believe that?), some of the world best actors at the time. And what maybe matters the most there was Bernardo Bertolucci whose political ideas have never been in glaring contradiction with the "Communist Manifesto". So who else could make this movie better than him? Having put this fabulous international team together the standarts were set very, very high.
As much as I adore Italy and italians, and as much as I love Bertolucci, De Niro, Depardieu, Lancaster and Sutherland, I have to say this movie let me down a little bit. I mean it's a good movie, but it could have been much better. The snag is that one has to know what happened in Italy during that period of time to fully understand what the movie is really about. Bertolucci knew it beforehand, which probably explains his need to have the best french actor, the best american actor, some other excellent american actors besides his italian actors troop (some of them are excellent by the way) to be in this movie. I think I can say that I know pretty well the italian twentieth century history, and yet I think this movie is a little bit of a mess.
The italian paysage, the countryside, the photography and the colors are really breathtaking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The perfect example of great talent wasted. Nov. 3 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I like movies. Good movies. Takeshi Kitano, Martin Scorsese, Wong Kar Wai, Sam Fuller, Sam Peckinpah, Kubrick, Welles, Soderbergh, Buster Keaton, and yes, Bertolucci. "The Conformist" in particular I find to be stunning. "1900" is the kind of film that makes me lose faith in a great director. It has none of the beauty of "The Conformist". It is terribly acted across the board. Everyone is so far over-the-top that this plays like a comedy more than a historical drama. Even Robert DeNiro, who was just coming off "Taxi Driver", is awful. Donald Sutherland seems to be having fun, but probably because he realized how ridiculous the film was. And has there ever been a more laughable villain than Sutherland in this film? He crushes a cat against a wall, kills a small child by bashing his head against a wall, and impales an old woman on a fence. His character is a bad guy out of thousands of less ambitious films.
Maybe the only one who emerges unscathed from this mess is Sterling Hayden, who doesn't have any scenes in which he embarrasses himself (unlike everyone else in this film) and manages to create a somewhat realistic character.
I don't care if Bertolucci made this film. It's completely inept, devoid of subtlety or intelligence, and terrible in every way. If Bernardo's name wasn't attached to it, people would laugh this film into obscurity. But no, people make excuses for it and for some reason even give it five stars. If possible, I'd give it zero.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About the different lenght versions of Novecento Oct. 6 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Let me clarify the question of the different versions of this masterpiece.
The first cut (never released) was 6:15. The European released version was 5:25. In the meanwhile, Alberto Grimaldi (the film's producer) was negociating with Paramount a 3:15 version, betraying Bertolucci, who didn't know a word about.
After the European succes, Fox offered Bertolucci to work on a 4:15 version for the U.S. market. He accepted, and made a second 4:40 version. But Grimaldi's opposition take the case to a court. A judge viewed all three 5:25, 4:40 and 3:15 versions. He concluded that Grimaldi's short version was detrimental and incoherent. So he invited Bertolucci to work in a 4:15 version.
Bernardo did a third cut to 4:10, that had its premiere in the New York Film Festival. There, critics were very negative, since they already knew the european 5:25 version, and compared so. But Bertolucci once declared that this was simply another film; no a single sequence was missing, it just had another pace. For a given moment, he even prefered this version. But years later, he recognizes the short version lacks the "inexorable passing of time" of the full one.
Let me recall this is the only film in history that has put toghether -for the production- all three major studios then, Fox, United Artists and Paramount.
All this information was taken from the book Bertolucci por Bertolucci, the spanish version of Scene madri di Bernardo Bertolucci, from Enzo Ungari, based on the interviews by Donald Ranvaud about The Last Emperor.
I definitely agree with the people asking for a remastering and release on DVD of the 5:25 original version.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Career nadir Nov. 13 2003
By R Jess
Format:VHS Tape
This film drove Bertolucci to a nervous breakdown and he had to take a year off after making it, becoming an incessant pill-popper into the bargain. One can see how much pressure was put on him. '1900' had the largest film budget he had to work with up to that time in his career. Add to that fact that this was an epic picture about a period in his own country's history and the expectation on him must have been enormous. Unfortunately Bertolucci at this point in his career was totally out of his depth in dealing with such a conceptual behemouth. It would take him over 10 years before he could again tackle the political history of a country on such an epic scale. Ironically that epic would be set in China.
Controversy surrounded the film on its release in Italy as much of the film portrays a flawed knowledge of Italian history. The trial of the DeNiro character at the end was invented by Bertolucci as a utopian vision of how Italian history should have developed. Even the Italian Communist Party was upset at this depiction as they claim they never practiced vigilante style executions after the war.
As a young director, Bertolucci saw himself as stubbornly arrogant, not giving a second thought to what his audience may think. '1900' was the first movie he made where he kept in mind the spectatorship he was trying to reach. Paradoxicaly, '1900' would end up his least engaging film because he tried to envelop too many different visions.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great epic movie
Not enough people have seen this great epic movie about the industrial revolution in europe. featuring a star studded fantastic cast
Published 14 months ago by Roch Maltais
4.0 out of 5 stars Bertolucci’s powerful and controversial epic of 20th century Italy
Novecento (aka: 1900) centers around two young men who were born on the same Italian estate on the same day. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Jamie MacDougall
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply flawed, yet also amazing
So imperfect that I almost feel weird giving it this high a rating. But
two viewings of this somewhat bloated 5 hour plus film left me feeling
the same way; The film is... Read more
Published on July 10 2012 by K. Gordon
1.0 out of 5 stars Tiresome to sit through
An interesting idea for a film but not well executed. Much of the acting was so broad it was annoying or not believable (part of that was due to the dubbing). Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2004 by Philip S. Kashdan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cult-Movie for the Working Class
Simply the Movie of my Life .I guess the DVD extras will be smashing!
Published on Dec 7 2003 by Paulitus
1.0 out of 5 stars just awful
I have seen hundreds of movies in my life, and this has to be the worst. Because it is apparently trying to make some important point. Read more
Published on July 18 2003 by Christopher Kaufman
5.0 out of 5 stars An Operetta
This has been called both a masterpiece and a mess. I am more inclined to side with the masterpiece assessment but with a few qualifications. Read more
Published on Dec 6 2001 by Doug Anderson
2.0 out of 5 stars One of the great disasters in film history
I realize that I could take a hit in terms of helpfulness votes, but I have to write this review. For those who haven't seen this yet, let me say this: the end result of this... Read more
Published on Nov. 9 2001 by "admiralbuttons"
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives the satisfaction of finishing a good novel!
Bernardo Bertolucci is essentially known for THE CONFORMIST and THE SPIDER'S STRATEGEM and is one of the definitive Italian directors along with Federico Fellini and Michelangelo... Read more
Published on May 15 2001 by Joseph L Kremer
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives the satisfaction of finishing a good novel!
Bernardo Bertolucci is essentially known for THE CONFORMIST and THE SPIDER'S STRATEGEM and is one of the definitive Italian directors along with Federico Fellini and Michelangelo... Read more
Published on May 15 2001 by Joseph L Kremer
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