Exterior Night: The Intimacy of Tragedy

The big problem of the last season of The Crown it was that all the viewers not only knew about Lady Di and Dodi Al Fayet’s deeds, but they knew them too much. The fans of the Italian years of lead are well aware of the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, the Gladio network, Andreotti’s malevolent ambiguity, the P2 Lodge and its involvement in the death of John Paul I, the attack on the Bologna station and the links of the Red Brigades with the establishment. Even the kidnapping of John Paul Getty’s grandson and the cutting of his ear have deserved series and movies. Marco Bellocchio, old fox, knows that his viewers don’t want to listen or hear the same old thing. Italian viewers have it more than hackneyed because it is part of its legend and Europeans because, those who are interested in such a product artsy, have read and seen dozens of books and productions that deal with the subject, including a third of The Godfather. That is why Bellocchio, without postponing History, focuses on the intimate conflict of some characters who oscillate between their political interests, and their personal feelings and obligations. The subject is one of his favorite obsessions, and he already narrated it in the film good morning, nightawarded at the Venice Festival.

Let’s review the basics: in 1978 Aldo Moro, among others, had reached an agreement with the communists, led by the legendary Enrico Berlinguer, whereby they would support the Christian Democrats, then in government. The PCI had achieved unprecedented strength in Western Europe, but feared an Allende-style coup and considered that the agreement guaranteed democracy. The so-called Historical Compromise broke the block dynamics. The consequences were positive, without a doubt, for those who sought peace, but negative for those who lived from the conflict. The Russians were against it, the Americans were against it, and the Vatican, as usual, was hesitant. If Aldo Moro died, the agreement ended and the confrontation returned. Therefore, his death interested the public and political subject, but he hurt the private.

In a display of narrative freedom, Bellocchio dares at the beginning and at the end of the series to speculate on a release and to show an Aldo Moro full of anger and disappointment, capable of blowing up the system

And it is in this contradiction that Bellocchio focuses because everyone has a heart in Outside Night, even Andreotti, the eternal villain, has it. Among them are the Minister of the Interior, Francesco Cossiga, who will go as far as the President of the Republic and, of course, Paul VI. But they are Italian politicians, and their left hand and right hand can play different tunes, just like an accomplished pianist would. A clear example is that Pope, a close friend of the kidnapped person, who collects a huge sum, millionaire, for the ransom, but ends up dodging the negotiation, at the same time that he encourages it. Even the communists doubt, who see how the most radical, represented by the Red Brigades, can take command of the opposition. Some Red Brigades that represented, together with the Baader Meinhoff and other movements of the time, a type of terrorism fortunately forgotten and definitely bourgeois, son of 68, oblivious to the worker and his desires or circumstances, whom they claimed to represent when Italy was experiencing the best years of its history with capital letters. Pasolini already wrote that the workers were among the police, not among the protesters.

In a display of narrative freedom, Bellocchio dares at the beginning and at the end of the series to speculate on a release and to show an Aldo Moro full of anger and disappointment, capable of blowing up the system. No doubt his death was good for everyone.

Get a panoramic look, almost operatic for its humanity and tragedy, but relatively sober. You do not need to underline the seriousness of what you are saying, or decorate it with Neo-Machiavellian sentences.

It is not a particularly conspiratorial series, despite the appearance of a mysterious CIA agent who hinders any negotiation under the pretext of helping her. In addition to the fact that Italy, as stated in Il Divo de Sorrentino, it is the only country in which the conspiracies are real, the Americans were omnipotent in those days. Let us remember his ambiguity in the face of the attack on Carrero Blanco. Perhaps one of the few errors in the series is the canonization of More, because if he was surrounded by such vipers and reached so high, he would not be so holy. He lacks nuances, although a certain obsessive character is sensed in his fixation on hygiene. Andreotti is too Andreotti, with his extreme Machiavellianism, his masterful use of evil to achieve good (his good) and his pose as a Renaissance cardinal. It is appreciated that he does not pronounce his typical and well-known sentences. What all the protagonists do agree on is their archetype. They are old politicians, middle-aged men, teachers, serious, always in dark suits, oblivious to the spotlight, with little people skills. Ambiguous, but also educated and with a sense of status. Isn’t it better to have a hypocrite in command than an incompetent? Sometimes he falls into the stereotype, for example when he portrays the terrorist and her contradictions. Her double life as a mother and an integrated worker, and as a brigade member is well outlined, but her feelings are too predictable. However, the portrait of the wife, by Francesco Cossiga and, above all, by Paul VI, are splendid..

After a prologue dedicated to the perspective of Moro himself and those prior to the kidnapping, he adopts the perspective of each of the protagonists. Therefore, he uses the same narrator, but different points of view, which advance linearly, overlapping only when necessary. He gets a panoramic look, almost operatic in its humanity and tragedy, but relatively sober. You do not need to underline the seriousness of what you are saying, or decorate it with Neo-Machiavellian sentences.. The photography is very much from the 70s, highly contrasted, worthy of the Vittorio Storaro who served Bertolucci, and refers to Italian political cinema, led by Bellocchio himself and by other greats, such as Francesco Rosimentioned in the series, or gillo pontecorvowhose battle of algiers It is the undisputed jewel of the genre. It seems that Gian Maria Volonté is going to appear at any moment. The setting is perfect and the actors are not impeccable, but supernatural. He highlights, as always, Toni Servillo like Paul VI, and above all, Fausto Russo Alessi like the doubtful and tormented Cossiga, who represents the spectator, tortured by the tensions that take him from one place to another, by the impossibility of achieving a coherent solution, dignified at the same time for the human being and for the politician.

Was the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro so important or is it magnified, as it happens in so many historical narratives? It is impossible to know.

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Exterior Night: The Intimacy of Tragedy – Zenda