La Meglio gioventω (The Best of Youth) (2003)

 

 

Director:     Marco Tullio Giordana.

Starring:    Luigi Lo Cascio (Nicola Carati), Alessio Boni (Matteo Carati), Adriana Asti (Adriana Carati), Sonia Bergamasco (Giulia Monfalco), Fabrizio Gifuni (Carlo Tommasi), Maya Sansa (Mirella Utano), Valentina Carnelutti (Francesca Carati), Jasmine Trinca (Giorgia), Andrea Tidona (Angelo Carati), Lidia Vitale (Giovanna Carati), Claudio GioP (Vitale Micavi), Paolo Bonanni (Luigino), Mario Schiano (Medicine Professor), Giovanni Scifoni (Berto), Michele Melega (Literature Professor).

Two brothers in Italy in the period from 1966 to 2003. It helps to know a little about the history of modern Italy, 1966 to 2003, including some basic facts on the Red Brigade and the Italian Mafia..  See the historical background below. 

 

 

Very good movie.  It is on two DVD discs each around 250 minutes in length.  It covers the lives of Italian two brothers and their families.  It is somewhat of a soap opera, but a good one.  (Hey, lots of critics call Gone with the Wind a soap opera.)   The action starts in the summer of 1966 when the two brothers can't wait to go on a long traveling summer vacation.  They just have to pass their exams: one brother, Matteo, studies Italian literature, while the other, Nicola, studies medicine. 

Matteo is given a part-time job of watching a young female mental patient, Giorgia.  He sees that she has been receiving electric shocks and decides he must take her out of the hospital to her family.  He convinces his brother to come along on a trip to her home. )They were supposed to go on vacation with their good friends, Carlo Tommasi and Berto, but obviously things changed.)  When the authorities find Giorgia, she is taken back to the mental facility.  And suddenly Matteo joins the army. Nicola continues on his vacation all the way up to Norway (where he works for awhile as a saw mill operator). 

Nicola learns of the 1966 flood in Florence and he rushes there to help. Matteo has also arrives in Florence with his army unit help out. They are united.  Nicola meets a young blonde, Giulia, who he follows to the University of Turin, located in the Piedmont region of north-western Italy.  They fall in love, set up house and have a baby girl.  Meanwhile, Matteo has gotten out of the army and become a police officer. 

The twists and turns of the lives of the brothers and their families continues on with the audience tagging along with interest in what will happen to them.  One worries about Matteo, who is just too hot-tempered for his own good, and Giulia, who gets too deeply involved in radical politics in Italy. 

There are some surprises along the way and the story can be a tear-jerker; and it's all worth the trip.  And along the way you learn a bit about modern Italian history. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

 

1946  --  start of the Italian Republic

1946 (July 13) - 1953 (August 2)  --  term of prime minister Alcide De Gasperi. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the European community.  He also organized (in 1943) the establishment of the first Christian Democracy party, which was illegal at the time.

1953 (August 17) - 1954 (January 12) –  term of prime minister Giuseppe Pella.

1954 (January 18) - 1954 (February 8) – Amintore Fanfani.

1954 (February 10) - 1954  (July 2)  --  Mario Scelba.

1955 (July 6) - 1957 (May 15)  --  Antonio Segni.

1957 (May 19) - 1958 (July 1) – Adone Zoli.

1958 (July 1) - 1959 (February 15) – Amintore Fanfani (2nd time).

1959 (February 15) - 1960 (March 23) – Antonio Segni (2nd time).

1960s  --  a wave of post-war affluence rolled across Italy. 

1960 (March 25) - 1960 (July 26) – Fernando Tambroni.

1960 (July 26) - 1963 (June 21) – Amintore Fanfani (3rd time).

1963 (June 21) - 1963 (December 4) – Giovanni Leone.

1963 (December 4) - 1968 (June 24) – Aldo Moro, a Christian Democrat, begins the first of his five posts as prime minister.

1965  -- the first student protests were centered at the University of Turin. 

1966 (November 4)  --  the Arno river flooded the center of Florence, killing a few dozens of people and ruining a number of Italian Renaissance masterpieces of art. 

1967  --student protests at the University of Trento.

1968 (June 24) - 1968 (December 12) – Giovanni Leone (2nd time).

1968 (December 12) - 1970 (August) – Mariano Rumor, a Christian Democrat, begins the first of his three terms as prime minister.

1969  --  extraordinary wave of strikes and protests in the factories during the "hot autumn".

1969 (December 12)  --  Piazza Fontana neo-fascist terrorist bombing in Milan at the National Agrarian Bank.

1970 (August 6) - 1972 (February 17) – Emilio Colombo.

1970  --  formation of the Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse, abbreviated BR), a militant leftist group that sought to create a revolutionary state through armed struggle, following the Piazza Fontana bombing.  They were credited with some 14,000 acts of violence.

1972 (February 17) - 1973 (July 7) – Giulio Andreotti was the prime minister seven different times.  He had Mafia contacts and was convicted. 

1972  --  demonstrations in Turin. 

1973 (July 7) - 1974 (November 23) – Mariano Rumor (2nd time).

1974 (November 23)-- 1976 (July 29) – Aldo Moro (2nd time).

1976 (July 29) - 1979 (August 4) – Giulio Andreotti (2nd time).

1978  --  the Red Brigades kidnapped and killed ex-Prime Minister Aldo Moro. 

1979 (August 4) - 1980 (October 18) – Francesco Cossiga.

1980 (October 18) - 1981 (June 28) – Arnaldo Forlani.

1981 (June 28) - 1982 (December 1) – Giovanni Spadolini.

1982 (December 1) - 1983 (August 4) – Amintore Fanfani (4th time).

1983 (August 4) - 1987 (April 17) – Bettino Craxi.

1986 (February 10)  --  the beginning of the Maxi Trail (it ended December 16, 1987).  474 Mafiosa were charged of which 360 were convicted of serious crimes. Tommaso Buscetta became the first ever Sicilian Mafioso to become an informant.  Craxi's last term was marred by this and the corruption affair ultimately destroyed the Christian Democratic party.

1987 (April 17) - 1987 (July 28) – Amintore Fanfani (5th time).

1987 (July 28) - 1988 (April 13) – Giovanni Goria.

1988 (April 13) - 1989 (July 22) – Ciriaco De Mita.

1989 (July 22) - 1992 (April 24) – Giulio Andreotti (3rd time).

by 1989  --  Red Brigades seriously weakened. 

1992  (May 23) --  in Palermo, Sicily the Mafia kills Judge Giovanni Falcone for his role in the prosecution of their criminal organization.   (His closest friend, Paolo Borsellino, also an anti-Mafia magistrate, was killed in a separate incident.)

1992 (June 28) - 1993 (April 28) – Giuliano Amato.

1993 (April 28) - 1994 (May 10) – Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

1994 (May 10) - 1995 (January 17) – Silvio Berlusconi, who formed the first unabashedly right-wing administration in 34 years.

1995 (January 17) - 1996 (May 17) – Lamberto Dini.

1996 (May 17) - 1998 (October 21) – Romano Prodi.

1988 (October 21) - 2000 (April 25) – Massimo D'Alema.

1999 --  the Red Brigades murder Massimo D'Antona, an advisor to the cabinet of near-left Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema.

2000 (April 25) - 2001 (June 11) – Giuliano Amato (2nd time).

2001 (June 11) - 2006 (May 17) – Silvio Berlusconi (2nd time).

2003  --  Berlusconi supports Bush's Iraq War.

2006 (May 17) --  Romano Prodi (2nd time).

 

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