FAMILY EPIC THE BEST OF YOUTH (15) 188min (Part 1) and 183min (Part 2) 00.0

An epic, six-hour familial drama which spans some four decades of post-war Italian history, The Best of Youth was originally commissioned for Italian television. Yet at the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, it was bought for theatrical distribution by distributors around the world, and it’s being screened to British audiences in two separate parts.

Directed by Marco Tullio Giordana and scripted by Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, it follows in the tradition of such Italian epics as Rocco and His Brothers, 1900, and The Leopard, using the story of a particular family as a metaphor for the experiences of a whole social class or a nation. In the film, Italy’s turbulent recent history directly impinges on the lives of the protagonists: the floods in Florence, the terrorist activities of the Red Brigades, student protests, industrial disputes, government bribery scandals, the murder of anti-Mafia investigators, even World Cup Final soccer matches.

Taking its title from a collection of Pasolini’s poems, The Best of Youth begins in the summer of 1966, with the two Carati brothers, Nicola (Luigi Lo Cascio) and Matteo (Alessio Boni), who are both promising university students. They befriend Giorgia (Jasmine Trinca), a young girl incarcerated in a mental hospital. The episode has a profound impact on these young men: the idealistic Nicola travels around Europe and comes back to Italy to become a psychiatrist, devoted to improving the conditions of formerly institutionalised patients, while Matteo joins the army and then the police, barely able to conceal his feelings of unhappiness and self-loathing.

As we pass through the years, other plot

strands emerge; births marriages, deaths and political anarchy enter the timeline.

Switching between locations in Rome, Milan, Turin, Tuscany, Sicily and Norway, Giordana confidently handles the sweep and the intimacy of his material, with close-ups magnifying the private dramas. At its heart lies a compassionate character study of two temperamentally opposed siblings, who nonetheless feel a deep affection for one another. Whereas Nicola is constantly open to new experiences and can articulate his feelings, Matteo retreats ever deeper into himself, unable to find fulfilment in work or relationships. Yet over time Nicola also finds himself filled with


Mama mia, these are changing times

self-doubt about his own actions and wonders whether everyone ‘has the right to live as we please’.

Giordana has talked of how the final section of The Best of Youth acts as a ‘relay race’, with Nicola ‘passing the baton to the next generation’ (in the shape of his 20-year-old daughter Sara and Matteo’s daughter Andrea). Nicola and his friends - those that are left - seem to have settled down into a materially comfortable existence in the Berlusconi era. It’s up to their children to continue their legacy of committed youthful activism.

I UGC. Glasgow f/om Fri 6 Aug and Cameo. [.dinhu/‘gh War! 2. Thu 22 Jul only;


High concepts and dirty barbarians

King Arthur sponds a long timo (for a hlockllustorl sotting up :15; back story ~— and then complotoly fails to mako good on it. As tho fiim land somo historiansi has it. tho British folk horo actually did most. But two was a Roman iiiorconacy protocting its colony. England. from tho pillaging barbarians coming south ovor Hadrian's Wall. Lancolot and tho othor knights woro also iiiorconarios. Gtiinovoro a pluo-facod woad and Morlin hor trihal chiof. And Arthur (horo Arturo; pullod Fxcalihur from his fathor's gravo. So far so roasonahly intorosting. as a pioco of

'factional' altornatiyo 'mythstoiy'. But in tho hands of Joriy Bruckhoimor. all that is disgardod in favour of macho fantasy horoics rominiscont of ll)tll in no way as ontortaining as,» tho Bruckstor's lho P/iatos of tho Canhhoan.

Antoino [rain/rig Day Fugua's diroction might ho slick. hut David Gladiator Fran/oni's script lac s scopo, wit and wisdom. Worso. it soron noods a loading man. Clivo Owon. so '.‘.iatchat)lo in Tho C/‘oup/or. just can't carry tho moyio. instoad pitching his mighty x-varrior somowhoro hotwoon confoundod and constipatod.

\.".’."i(;l‘ loau'os tho film to tno co stars. Kora Kirgntaoy. playing ar‘ Ariia/onian (Su'noyoro. looks fiko a rttlo girl I)’£l‘,’l'l(] with l‘.(3l I):g l)iot"or's toy Ell'l()‘.'/f§. loan Cuiffmld as I ancoiot .s gioat cat ui‘tiorasou. Hay Winstono lll;(§'(ltf$ a lettlo I‘It.ll‘i()tll' into his '.'.’()lll£l."lf; ng I)£ll'l)£tl!£l?t. But only Stolla" Skai‘sgard's moiancnoiy, poiod. hr.itis'i Caxo \, king catc'tos tho cori'oct paiitoiiiimo tono.

lhoio's only ono iiiipioss.\./o action soguonco in tho wholo film. But whilo tho light I)(:I‘.‘.’()(;~ll Aituro's iiiagnilicont sovon knights and a Saxon hoard atop a fro/on lako is woll stagod. tho l(,‘f‘I of tho film isn't. ilvlilos I ioldoh I Conora/ ioloaso l/o/n //l (30 Jul.


In tho skatohoarding oxplosioii of tho 1980s tho hravo young mon (and occasionally womonl who riskod hustod limbs and hruisod dignity riding tho ramps. DOV/IE; and disusod smmiiiing pools around tho world.

Ivlark "Gator' Rogowski was ono of thom. Ho was caught up in tho hyporholo Just as skatohoarding mushroomod from toon cult to intornational phonomonon. As ono of tho most charismatic and talontod ramp ridors in tho US. Gator was soon signod to hurgooning skato company Vision as tho star of its skato toam and contomporan, of tho likos of Stovo Cahalorro and Tony l lawk. As his lamo and foituno grow. Ciator stai‘tod down a dark path at tho ond of which was only his own soll dosti'uction.

Comparisons to Stacy Poralta's Doglown and Z—Boys aro porhaps inoVitat)lo horo hut tho oulogistic tono of Poralta's flick ~ which tracod tho origins of Californian skatohoarding

is gono. roplacod with a world-- woary air of rosignation. Tho admission lioro is that monoy corrupts and famo and fortuno can't always buy happinoss.

Whilo Gatoi 's ogocoiitiic actions aro at tho opicontro of this talo. it affords dii‘octoi l'lolon Stickloi' tho opportunity to indulgo us with somo all too piiol —‘ momonts of adionalisod skating. sot to a classic punk soundtrack. This is iuxtaposod with somo Wild 80s nostalgia tripping that hoi'doi‘s on tho painful. Slolmd doosn't so much (:aptuio an ora as a momont from a world which spi'awlod out fiom tho undoigi‘ound to hocoii‘o a mulli million dollar industry. An industiy which has sufforod casualtios along tho way. ilvlark ltohortsoni I ()ul soon on so/oclod io/ot'iso. ,_ _ ., Avan’ah/o on {)‘./I) from Mon (lt) .I.‘ T Li it

Aug. The industrial revolution on coasters ;‘.’.,-.. :\,\...;.“ THE LIST 25