Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Best of Youth, Part 2

5 /5

The Best of Youth, Part 2 (La Meglio gioventu)

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Alessio Boni

This is the 3-hour conclusion to the six-hour Italian family epic, The Best of Youth (La Meglio Gioventu.) The first part focused on the two brothers and how they each took different paths in life and how they each coped with big historical events in Italy, over the past 30 years, being brought together for these events, inextricably. One brother, the quiet and brooding Matteo (Alessio Boni), failed to make it in university and gravitated towards the military, and law enforcement, being drawn by rules and discipline. The other brother, the free spirited Nicola (Luigi Lo Cascio), headed off alone to Norway after his travelling companions failed to accompany him. He worked in a saw mill, and on the verge of falling in love, headed back to Italy to help out with the 1966 floods in Florence. Matteo meets someone there who plays a huge role later on in the second film for both him and his brother. Nicola, a psychiatrist, also ended up having a family with a beautiful young piano player/ student activist (Sonia Bergamasco) whose piano and motherhood responsibilities get put on the backburner for more extreme subversive activities that come to a head in the second part.

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Luigi Lo Cascio

Part 2 focuses less on the two brothers and more on the surrounding characters, some of whom played very small roles in the first film, but who spring to prominence in Part 2. You really need to see Part 1 to get the most out of Part 2. A chance meeting in a library reunites Matteo and someone he met briefly years earlier (Maya Sansa). This event is the cornerstone event of the second film and without it, we wouldn't have the tantalizing, unfolding events that make this film such an engrossing story.

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Maya Sansa

There is tragedy, and heartbreak, infatuation that blossoms to head over heels love and everything in between. You feel like you are member of an extended family and get to witness the reality of family dynamics in the late 80s/ early 90s.

Winner of 18 awards, director Marco Tullio Giordana's film won the Jury Prize, Un Certain Regard, at Cannes in 2003. Again, I can't wait to buy this on DVD, but for the moment, it doesn't appear to be available anywhere. Not everyone can sit through a 6-hour film, even if it is split into two parts. But, if you are a film connoisseur and are willing to see something that feels like an epic novel in scope, you have to see this film. It's not a strange indie or cult film, it's just long.

The Best of Youth official site.

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