September 24, 2004

Good Morning, Night

Directed by Marco Bellocchio

Reviewed by Martin Tsai

In the past four decades, Marco Bellocchio has made several films that examine the socio-political upheaval in Italy during the 1960s and 1970s. He revisits that dark chapter in history with Good Morning, Night, which recounts the 1978 kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro by members of the Red Brigade. Moro served as the Italian prime minister between 1963 and 1968. His violent death impacted Italy like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy shook the United States. Told from the perspective of one of Moro’s assailants, the film is controversial for its moral ambiguity.

Bellocchio often employs a family unit as a microcosm of the society. Here, the interplay between and among the quartet of kidnappers and the prisoner ironically feigns domestic normality. Between meals, arguments, watching TV and babysitting, drama unfolds in this house of cards.

In a post-9/11 world where terrorism elicits strong responses, the film is singularly uncompromising in its refusal to demonize terrorists. Increasingly elaborate dream sequences insinuate the protagonist’s detachment from her crime and her guilt. With crucial questions still unanswered by its end, this elusive film is more rewarding to those intimately familiar with its historical background.

Reprinted from WestEnder. © Copyright 2004 Martin Tsai. All rights reserved.