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Epic story of two families in Italy traces both the rise of fascism and the conflict between the sons of the families, both born on January 1, 1900.Genre: Feature Film-DramaRating: UNRelease Date: 5-DEC-2006Media Type: DVD
This is one of Bernardo Bertolucci's adventures in epic filmmaking that never found the reception he had hoped for. Originally more than six hours long, it was chopped down to four hours for its U.S. release and as a result looked, well, choppy. Eventually, he restored it to five hours--but one wonders at all the effort on behalf of this alternately muddled and stunning story. The film, with a decidedly socialist agenda, examines two lives that begin the same year in rural Italy: the weak-willed son of the aristocracy (Robert De Niro) and the hardy, courageous son of peasants (Gerard Depardieu). They grow up as best friends on the same estate, until class differences pull them apart and then the era's fascist politics divide them for good. Despite strong performances by both leads, as well as Sterling Hayden, Donald Sutherland, Dominique Sanda, and Burt Lancaster, this one is strictly for Bertolucci's most avid fans. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
two viewings of this somewhat bloated 5 hour plus film left me feeling
the same way; The film is over-simplistic in its characters and
politics, badly dubbed (with actors from all over speaking their own
language, so whatever soundtrack you pick there are important
characters who sound like something out of 'What's Up Tiger Lily'), and
even the English spoken by DeNiro seems post- recorded, making for an
oddly stiff sounding performance.
Yet for all these complaints it is somehow a near-great film. There are
so many moments; images, incidents that are indelible, and in the end
there's such a real emotional punch to this overview of the history of
Italy from 1900 to 1945 as seem through the lives of a few people in a
small town that it overcomes many of the flaws.
I couldn't defend the film from anyone who wanted to tear it down '
e.g. the simple-minded jingoistic endless competition between fascism
and communism as if those were the only two options in the world, with
both sides reduced to cartoon like figures of evil and good.
But it's strengths are strong enough that I'd urge people to judge for
themselves. You may find, like me, that all the flaws don't matter to
you when a film has so many unforgettable moments.
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.
There is so much for the eyes to savor in this film from the unbelievably opulent interiors of De Niro's palazzo to the estates surrounding gorgeous and lush farmlands where the very earthy Depardieu works and lives.
The most enjoyable part of the film is the 1920's when we meet a beautiful femme fatale played by Dominique Sanda. Bertolucci may like to play at being a communist but his camera betrays him when he films all the luxuries the rich surround themselves with. The period decor, the costumes, the cars, everything is greedily enjoyed by the camera. As good as De Niro and Depardieu are, Sanda steals the show whenever she is in view. She is one of the most beautiful actresses of the seventies and she gives a giddy performance. So long as she is indulging in all of her favorite vices she is immensely enjoyable to watch but eventually her naturally fragile, impressionable and wayward temperament(and Bertoluccis script) leads her to sympathize with the poor and despise her wealthy status.Read more ›
The ambitious film is infamous for it’s epic length (5+ hours!), controversial subject matter and subsequent censorship, going over budget, and constant re-editing. Over the years it has been presented in several severely cut versions with varying degrees of picture and audio quality.
This three-disc set from the folks at Olive Films is the five and half hour original director’s cut of the film. The first two discs contain the movie on Blu-rays while the third disc is a DVD of ‘Bernardo Bertolucci: Reflections on Cinema’ documentary and a related text-based essay. The video & audio quality of the release isn’t perfect, but is certainly a big step up from any version I’ve viewed before. Given the film’s epic length I think it’s probably safe to bet this is the best we can expect for some time.
Though the strong sexual content and graphic violence in the film may turn off many viewers, I think 1900 is a movie that should be experienced at least once. It’s a true epic in every sense and offers solid performances from Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Burt Lancaster and Donald Sutherland (as one of the most disgustingly vile villains ever to appear on celluloid). It’s a far from perfect film, and although it requires a bit of patience on the viewers part with a running time of over five hours, still comes highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
Not full film aspect ratio quite disappointed only 1.78:1 where as original aspect ratio 2.35:1Published 4 months ago by Greg Gallagher
A film that defines the realms of Fascism, you learn to like each character and then grow to hate them equally. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Micheal A. Aldred
Not enough people have seen this great epic movie about the industrial revolution in europe. featuring a star studded fantastic castPublished on June 30 2013 by Roch Maltais
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 morePublished on Jan. 20 2004 by Philip S. Kashdan
Simply the Movie of my Life .I guess the DVD extras will be smashing!Published on Dec 7 2003 by Paulitus
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 morePublished on July 18 2003 by Christopher Kaufman
"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",... Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2002 by G. Shkodra