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The true story of the kidnap of Italian political leader Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades in 1978 is turned into a haunting, disturbing tone poem of s film.
Eschewing realism, or the obvious tense, linear approach, this focuses on the experience through the eyes of one the young kidnappers, and her ever growing doubts about the righteousness of the mission. But rather than express this literally, we see it emerge in dream sequences, and behind her eyes.
Beautifully shot, with a terrific use of classical and modern music (Pink Floyd shows up more than once) this quiet nightmare of a film is far more effecting and thought provoking than most political dramas. It does not miss the irony that Aldo was a humanist who was actually inviting the communist party to be part of the government.
A great cautionary truth based fable about the danger of giving yourself completely and unquestioningly to any ideology, left or right, religious or secular.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
largely speculative true life accountDec 23 2006
Roland E. Zwick
- Published on Amazon.com
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."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
No Turning Back: Quiet and Intelligent Study of Human NatureOct. 23 2006
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`Good Morning, Night' is based on the kidnapping and killing of Aldo Moro in 1978 by a group Red Brigade. The film is, however, less about why (or how) the country's former prime minister was abducted and killed -- it avoids describing the atrocity itself - than a careful psychological study of four actual kidnappers, especially that of the only female member, who slowly realizes that she made a terrible mistake between her ideal and reality.
You don't need much knowledge on Italian political history to watch `Good Morning, Night.' It is about young librarian Chiara (Maya Sansa), who keeps Moro under lock and key during 55 days in a make-shift cell made in a small apartment room. The film depicts the whole events seen from the viewpoint of Chiara, who apparently undergoes a spiritual change through overhearing the conversations between Moro and other kidnappers.
Director Marco Bellocchio employs a unique approach to deal with this tough subject matter, which you may or may not like. He not only inserts the real news footages about the incident, but also the historical stock footages (like that of Stalin) in several key scenes. In making juxtapositions, some of which are disturbing, Bellocchio asks us the meaning of what they have done, and would have done.
But the most impressive and touching part is the film's detailed descriptions of the characters. During the film the terrorists are never seen using violence, but we know they killed (the prime minister and the bodyguards before that). Moro quietly asks them to send his letter to his family, and even to the Pope, and the kidnappers allow it. At one scene Chiara is found silently crying listening to the words of Moro's letter. Still we know that they are all doomed in a different way.
Maya Sansa plays a pivotal role in `Good Morning, Night' and her subdued acting as Chiara encompasses a wide range of emotions. She is simply amazing, one of the reasons you should see this film.
You can watch `Good Morning, Night' as political or historical drama, but it works better as examination of human nature which is tested under an unusual situation. It deals with Italian history, but the theme is universal and immediate.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Red BrigadeFeb. 19 2008
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This is a well done movie that deals with a disturbing bit of history from Italy's recent past, 1978 to be exact. It concerns the infamous Red Brigade, a group of Marxist terrorists who are bent on making change at any cost. In this case the kidnapping of the President, no less! Shocking as it may seem , they not only kidnapped him but also murdered him. The movie focuses on the people invloved in the plot and their roles, their individual moral compases and the collective spirit that moves people beyond their oridinary existences. Much of the movie utilizes the ordianry to make the extraordinary events come to life. President Moro's captivity and the less than daunting task of the terrorists job, to fit into society, unnoticed, carry on as though nothing is happening, is amazing. They are captives by their own doing. The veteran Italian director, Marco Bellocchio L' Ora di religione (Il sorriso di mia madre) creates a movie that is part documentary, intermingling actual time period footage, a study in human character, that is, human drama and a political thriller. Maya Sansa, Gasoline, who plays the female terrorist,Chiara, is a character that one almost(if not for her political act)feels sorry for as she is revealed to be a person caught in a web; she even questions the legitimacy of the groups motives and hence her own. In the end though, there is only one person deserving of symphathy and that is President Moro and his family.Since most of the action takes place in an apartment, that is serving as the cell for Moro and his captors, it becomes a little claustrophobic and uncomfortable to watch. This is a nice technique that makes for a real tense situation.The movie is as much a study in human behavior as it is a political thriller. This film should appeal to those who like an occasional dose of reality thrown into their movie watching. The film is in Italian with English subtitles. Recommended for foreign film aficionados.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Remarkable Depiction of a Perplexing CoupsAug. 15 2006
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Marco Bellocchio takes a lot of chances in his films, examining human behavior in the face of dissension whether political, moral, or emotional. In 'Buongiorno, notte' ('Good Morning, Night') he studies the infamous 1978 kidnapping of Aldo Moro in what would be a situation that would raise as many questions as it gave answers - and it is that quality that Bellocchio has captured in his film.
The facts of the Italian political current in 1978 may not be understood by the general viewer, but suffice it to say that the ruling political party Democrazia Cristiana was challenged by the Red Brigade, the underground terrorists who kidnapped and killed President Aldo Moro in a coups that was eventually destroyed by the reigning powers. That much of a plot is all that is necessary to know. The bulk of the film revolves around the lives of the kidnappers, especially the sole woman Chiara (Maya Sansa) who with her compatriots hid the President in a tiny room with the threat of death, but also were influenced by the writings and conversations with Moro. The whole question of revolution is under close inspection. The story mixes documentary shots with the cinematography in a tasteful way of showing us the elements of the kidnapping and the aftermath. It is the reaction of Chiara to these events and the questioning that can disrupt the political leanings of revolutionaries that makes this story so very meaningful.
The cast is superb: Maya Sansa, Pier Giorgio Bellocchio, Giovanni Calcagno, Luigi Lo Cascio and Paolo Briguglia as the kidnappers, and Roberto Herlitzka as Aldo Moro are convincing and human. The script does have holes in it where formation of ideas and acts and incidents are vague, but it almost seems as though that is the intention of Bellocchio. In political upheaval nothing is black and white if the events are related through individual's eyes rather that through the reaction of the mobs. And this is what makes the film so fine, if a bit hard to follow. Grady Harp, August 06
The Human Element....March 2 2014
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In Marco Bellocchio's "Buongiorno, notte" ("Good Morning, Night" from 2003), we have an excellent examination of the 'Aldo Moro affair' and into the mind of terrorists (the Red Brigade)! Here, we are dealing with the human element. In how presumably intelligent people can be misled by false ideologies and commit atrocities for the same. This is truly exemplified by the character of 'Chiara', excellently portrayed by Maya Sansa (she and Luigi LoCascio were reunited in the beautifully eloquent "la meglio gioventù" also from 2003). As she begins to question, and has doubts about the course of action she and her fellow fanatical-idealists have taken. The film had an almost surreal quality about it (to best convey the irrationality and unrealistic objective of the entire event), and an excellent cast too: Maya Sansa, Luigi LoCascio, Roberto Herlitzka, Paolo Briguglia, Pier Giorgio Bellochio, etc. Since there are some very good reviews already, I'd like to touch upon some points that I believe Marco Bellochio was symbolically trying to make.
In light of the information that was eventually made public to the Italian people and the world in 1990, regarding the covert activities of NATO, CIA, P2 Masonic Lodge, etc., etc., code-named "Operation Gladio". We should question exactly who/what is really behind "terrorism" and terrorist organizations like: the Red Brigade, ETA, PLO, IRA, Al Quaeda, etc., etc. I have known for some time that "terrorism" is a state tool, and can only serve the concentrated powers of the State (those that are really in charge: the Elite Hierarchy), the same goes for all political doctrines and movements (Marxism, Socialism, Capitalism, Democracy, etc.) Adolf Hitler himself said in Mein Kampf: "Terror, must be brought down by Terror", and he did just that in 1934 (bet. June 30th - July 2nd): "The Night of the Long Knives". Interestingly enough, Aldo Moro himself, told his captors that Giulio Andreotti was "too close to NATO". And we get a sense that Aldo Moro's family was well aware of who were the true masterminds and orchestrators of his kidnapping and eventual execution, because they all stayed away from his obligatory state-wake and funeral! An excellent film, I highly recommend it. The DVD picture and sound quality by Wellspring is excellent. NTSC, Italian (English subtitles), NR 107 mins.