Friday, April 30, 2010

'Vincere' Dinner and a Movie Deal Tonight at Belcourt

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Austin's Alamo Drafthouse is known for its theme events pairing spaghetti Westerns with a spaghetti dinner. The Belcourt goes them one better tonight at 6:15 p.m., pairing the opening night of Marco Bellocchio's highly acclaimed drama Vincere with a meal from Savarino's. For just $25, which includes admission, you get baked ziti, salad, bread, a glass of wine and cannoli.

Here's a clip from Bilge Ebiri's rave this week in the Scene, worth reading in its entirety:

Marco Bellocchio is one of the great nihilists of the Italian cinema. He has spent five decades exploring Italy's social institutions — the family in Fists in the Pocket and China Is Near, the press in Slap the Monster on Page One, the military in Victory March, religion in My Mother's Smile — and pretty much finding madness and chaos at the heart of each and every one. It makes sense that much of Vincere, which may well be his masterpiece, takes place inside an insane asylum.

Actually, it could be said that the whole thing takes place inside an insane asylum, since Bellocchio depicts Italy in the first decades of the 20th century as a place of latent madness and grandiose irrationality. Intensely operatic, handsomely mounted, and at times unbearably dark, Vincere tells the story of Ida Dalser (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), a passionate and headstrong bourgeois who became Mussolini's mistress (back when he was a socialist). She financed his early political endeavors by selling off all her possessions, had his child, yet found herself suddenly out of favor as Mussolini became a fascist and grew into "Il Duce." Dalser may or may not have married Mussolini, but she did spend much of her life trying to establish her legitimacy as his wife — getting branded a nutjob as a result.

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