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Friday, June 13, 2008

THE BEST OF YOUTH (2003)

Marco Tullio Giordana’s ecstatically received 'novel on film' covers the social & political history of Italy from the mid-sixties to the present (Il Boom to Bust & Back) via one extended family (particularly two opposing brothers) and a couple of close friends. But rather than show how the drift of events affected everyone, the narrative places a cast member at every other national crisis. The Florence floods serve to reunite estranged brothers. And they’re back, as cop & leftist sympathizer, for the ‘68 riots in Turin. The Red Brigade? Hey, that’s no anarchist, that’s my wife! Sicilian mob trials & assassinations? Our big sister is one of the judges. And so on. Substitute American Baby Boomers and USA high tide events to see just how soapy the whole set up really is. Fortunately, the second half of the film leans toward personal matters, allowing the sweep of incident and attractive cast to grab our emotions, though you can’t help but notice how everyone ages like an old Hollywood movie. No hair loss, no weight gain, no blotchy skin or added wrinkles, just a distinguished touch of gray in the hair. So handsome on those Italian men.

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