Cinema Italia: Good morning, night (Marco Bellocchio, 2003)

Sunday 25 February 2024, Good morning, night [Buongiorno, notte] (2003) * Directed by Marco Bellocchio * 106 min * In Italian with English subtitles * doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30. After the film, please engage in sharing comments, ideas, and inspiration with the host(s) of the evening.

The kidnapping of Aldo Moro, the politician who succeeded in forming a government with the Christian Democrats (West side of the Iron Curtain) and the Communist Party (Eastern bloc) together, was a turning point not only in the history of Italy but in Europe at least. In the 1970s, going beyond the political division East-West was almost beyond imagination. One leitmotif we are invited to reflect upon is the generation gap between the old Communists who fought fascists during WW2 and the new generation of people in their 20s, who in the 1970s want to achieve a proletarian revolution in Western Europe.

How can we influence politics with our actions? The power of media, and in particular the mainstream news of television but also entertainment, in contrast with the power of books, is an element of reflection in Buongiorno, notte. We may share the same language (in the film: Italian) but if language is shared only on the surface, communication ultimately is impossible. The use of music, especially when extra-diegetic (i.e. heard by the public, not by the characters), is an element wisely used by the director to underline emotions and comment by himself what is happening on the screen; you will recognize the motif of Pink Floyd.

Bellocchio, who last year came back to the topic of kidnapping with Rapito (kidnapped), 21 years ago proposed a very audacious feature film. First, the topic was filmed previously in 1986, starring an outstanding Gian Maria Volonté — we should say that Roberto Herlitzka in Bellocchio’s film is extraordinary as well. Also, because Bellocchio’s angle is original, as the protagonist is a young woman, Chiara, who is part of the big history but in a sense stays at its margins. Her sacrifice, in terms of personal life, is illustrated by the black-and-white dreamy sequences that comment the film with a poetic touch. Finally, Buongiorno, notte also has an element of meta-cinema, reflecting on the responsibility of making films in the early years of the 21st century respecting history but taking liberties with history as well.

The film invites us to reflect on what are we ready to sacrifice in our normal life for our principles, and for staying loyal to our ethics. What is the value of life in front of imminent death? What does it mean to live 55 days in an apartment without ever going out? What is the difference between Christianity and Communism? What are we repeating in our lives, and what we are really choosing by ourselves? Do we have the courage to dream?

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to screen a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net