On March 16, 1978, Aldo Moro, the Prime Minister of Italy, was kidnapped by a group of Communist revolutionaries known as the Red Brigade and held in captivity for 55 days. Through letters and photos sent by the kidnappers, the authorities learned that Moro had been given a "trial" by the Red Brigade and sentenced to death for his crimes against the proletariat of Italy - and, indeed, on May 9th of that year, his body was found, riddled with ten rounds of bullets, in the trunk of an abandoned car.
In "Good Morning, Night," writer/director Marco Bellochio takes the events and drains them of much of their sociopolitical significance, choosing instead to focus on the human drama at the story's core. Bellochio looks at the ambivalent feelings and conflicted motives underlying the kidnappers' actions, particularly in the case of an attractive young woman named Chiara (confidently played by Maya Sansa), who comes to question her commitment to "the cause" as the reality of what they are planning to do begins to sink in. It is largely through her eyes that we come to view the events and to see Moro less as an impersonal force to be manipulated for political purposes and more as a simple human being with all the fears, insecurities and desperate desire for life common to us all. Indeed, the political aspects stay largely in the background, relegated mainly to clips of stock footage showing us the principal players of the time dealing with the crisis.
With its dreamy visions, fantasy sequences, and tendency towards wild speculation, the film may frustrate those who would have preferred a more historically accurate, documentary-style approach to the topic. But Bellochio, as an artist, is less concerned with the "facts" of the case than with exploring the dilemma of the revolutionary's mindset. And to that end, he has done an exemplary job in "Good Morning, Night."