Vincere 1 (in French : conquer ) is a film by Marco Bellocchio released onin Italy and presented in official competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival . A biographical film about Benito Mussolini and the rise of Italian fascism , Bellocchio chooses to portray his historical fresco in terms of the life of Duce’s mistress, Ida Dalser , and their adulterous son.


This film describes the life of Ida Dalser and Benito Albino Dalser, the lover and the illegitimate child of Benito Mussolini . Mussolini makes his first encounter with Ida Dalser in 1907 in Trento , then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A few years later, at the beginning of 1914, when she opened a beautician salon in this city, she found him haranguing the crowds as the leader of the local socialist party advocating pacifist positions in the conflict in germ. Fascinated by the intensity of the character, she throws herself into his arms and decides to sacrifice everything to satisfy his personal ambition. She sells all her goods and gives him the money so that he, then director of the publication dismissed from the socialist newspaper Avanti! , can found in 1914 its own newspaper, Il Popolo d’Italia, and call against all expectation, with the financial support of France and England, the entry of Italy into the first world conflict alongside the Entente cordiale .

The Benito Albino is born , the fruit of their union, but Mussolini, sent to the front and demobilized because injured during an exercise by the explosion of a mortar, marries civilly with his official companion Rachele Guidi which he will have several children. He then denies Ida Dalser and their son, seeking by all means to silence the truth.

When he came to power, of which Il Popolo d’Italia spearheaded his fascist propaganda , he had Ida Dalser intercede, claiming to be his first wife and the mother of his eldest son. She claims to have material evidence of their religious union, claiming that church records have been destroyed. She is placed in a psychiatric hospital in Pergine Valsugana then in Venice, without ever being able to see his son again. Ida Dalser will eventually die of a stroke in 1937. Benito Albino is entrusted for a time to the care of uncles and aunts, before being kidnapped and put in religious board at the age of 12 for his education, in the most total secret and the isolation of his little friends. Raised in a navy school, he also demands to be recognized as the son of his natural father. He will eventually be interned in an asylum where he dies on.

Technical sheet

  • Director: Marco Bellocchio
  • Scenario: Marco Bellocchio and Daniela Ceselli
  • Director of Photography: Daniele Ciprì
  • Original music: Carlo Crivelli
  • Additional music: The Window of Appearances from the opera Akhnaten by Philip Glass
  • Editing: Francesca Calvelli
  • Art Director: Briseide Siciliano
  • Sets: Marco Dentici
  • Costumes: Sergio Ballo
  • Production: Mario Gianani
  • Production Companies: Offside, Rai Cinema , Celluloid Dreams
  • Genre: drama and historical film
  • Language: Italian
  • Duration: 128 minutes
  • Release dates:
    •  Italy 
    •  la France 
    •  Belgium 
    •  luxembourg 
    •  United States 
  • DVD release:


  • Giovanna Mezzogiorno : Ida Dalser
  • Filippo Timi : Benito Mussolini and Benito Albino Dalser adult
  • Corrado Invernizzi : Dr. Cappelletti
  • Fausto Russo Alesi : Riccardo Paicher
  • Michela Cescon : Rachele Guidi
  • Fabrizio Costella : Benito Albino child
  • Pier Giorgio Bellocchio : Pietro Fedele
  • Paolo Pierobon : Giulio Bernardi
  • Bruno Cariello : the judge
  • Francesca Picozza : Adelina
  • Simona Nobili : the superior mother
  • Matteo Mussoni : the young doctor Pergine
  • Giovanna Mori : the German
  • Silvia Ferretti : the little red shoes
  • Corinne Castelli : the mourner
  • Patrizia Bettini : the singer

Project and realization

Propaganda poster using the slogan ” Vincere! e vinceremo!  Pronounced by Mussolini at the time of the declaration of war to France and Great Britain the.

The title of the film Vincere , meaning “to defeat” in French, refers to the declaration of war made to France and to Britain by Benito Mussolini onfrom the balcony of Palazzo Venezia to Piazza Venezia in Rome where Mussolini urged the Italian people to war and promised them victory 2 . This film incorporates a large number of archival documents on the Duce , often staging them in a theatrical or even operatic form, as well as excerpts from major films from the 1910s – 1920s, such as Christus by Giulio Antamoro (1916). ) or The Kid (1921) by Charlie Chaplin 3 , 4 , 5 . As such, VincereFrequently puts into perspective the importance of the cinema, more specifically the news that was diffused during the first half of the century in the manipulation of the masses and its preponderant role in the rise of totalitarianisms 6 .

The facts in this film are largely based on Marco Zeni’s two Ultimo filò (2000) and The Moglie di Mussolini (2005) 7, and a documentary of the Rai Tre released in 2005 that revealed more accurately the connection Mussolini had with Ida Dalser and the son born of their religious union in 1914 5 that no register of civil or clerical records mentions, probably because of their destruction. Mussolini, however, would have recognized this child in 1915-1916 and then made every effort to deny his existence after his marriage to Rachele Guidi 8 , 3 , 7 , 5.

Critical and public reception

Vincere was very well received by the press during his presentation at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival 3 and was quickly considered a serious contender at the Palme d’Or 9 , 10 . He did not receive any prize at the festival. The critics, who were once again very appreciative when it was released in France in a version slightly amended by its creator, lightened by two scenes 11 , questioned the non-consideration of the film by the Cannes jury. Jacques Mandelbaum in The Worlddescribes the film as “a magisterial work, a stylistic, poetic, political gesture of a rare scale” and highlights in particular the talent of Bellochio to approach fascism from the angle of “fusional passion, conquest of souls, devotion of hearts, transportation lovers, erotic enjoyment “as well as that of the totalitarian state 6 . The five film critics of the Mask and Feather almost unanimously called this film “masterpiece”, wondering again the absence of the film at Cannes charts 12 . The Italian juror Asia Argento had also been questioned on this subject by a journalist on the evening of the closing of the festival but she had preferred not to13 .

On its release in the United States, The New York Times very positively welcomes Vincere and describes the film as “aesthetic howling, with sustained action, alternatively exhausting and exhilarating ” 14 attributing this in part to Giovanna Mezzogiorno’s “fierce game” and to the Filippo Timi 15’s “outstanding” performance, supporting the four major prizes won the previous year at the Chicago International Film Festival . Overall, the film obtains 92% of favorable judgments in the aggregators of English-speaking cinematographic critics, with an average score of 7.6 / 10 based on 87 reviews collected on the site.Rotten Tomatoes 16 . On the website Metacritic , it gets a score of 85 / 100 , based on 24 reviews collected 17 .

During its first month in France, the film made 178,800 entries 18 and a total of 269,858 admissions for the whole of its exploitation 19 . In Italy, the film achieves 370,364 entries in total in Europe to 683,689 entries 20 and 615,278 dollars in revenue to the US during the three months of its presence in halls 21 .

The film is broadcast in France on television on on Arte , the evening of the Italian general elections .

Distinctions and awards

  • 2009 : Presentation in official competition during the 2009 Cannes Film Festival .
  • 2009 : Award for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress (Silver Hugo) and Best Photography (Gold Plaque) at the Chicago International Film Festival .
  • 2009 : Silver ribbons for best actress, best photography, best editing, and best scenography.
  • 2010 : David di Donatello for the best director, the best photography, the best scenography, the best editing, the best costumes, the best makeup, the best hairstyle and the best visual effects.
  • 2011 : Best Actress Award 2010 at the 2010 National Society of Film Critics Awards .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Subtitled heroic and tragic life of the woman hidden Mussolini
  2. ↑ Video of the declaration  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ a , b and c From Thebes to Rome. Mario Bellocchio [ archive ] in the Humanity of May 20, 2009
  4. ↑ Bellocchio and love hidden Mussolini [ archive ] in Le Figaro on 19 May 2009
  5. ↑ a , b and c (it) Il Duce di Bellocchio Con radio and cinema cambiò la politica [ archive ] in La Repubblica from 20 May 2009
  6. ↑ a and b “Vincere”: Benito Mussolini, a fascist executioner of hearts [ archive ] by Jacques Mandelbaum in Le Monde,November 24, 2009
  7. ↑ a and b An Italian Iron Mask [ archive ] in Le Figaro, 19 May 2009
  8. ↑ “Vincere”, bastard love [ archive ] in Libération of May 20, 2009
  9. ↑ Meanwhile the festival [ archive ] in Le Monde of May 24, 2009
  10. ↑ Awards: the prognoses of the Croisette [ archive ] in Libération of May 24, 2009
  11. ↑ Loves upset [ archive ] by Pascal Mérigeau in Le Nouvel Observateur n ° 2351 of November 26th, 2009
  12. ↑ Issue of the Mask and the Pen of 29 November 2009 on France Inter .
  13. ↑ The press conference of the jury after the Cannes winners 2009  [ archive ]
  14. ↑ ” sustained, alternatingly exhausting and aesthetically exhilarating howl of a film “.
  15. ↑ (in) II Duce as Young Lover: The Making of a Dictator [ archive ] in The New York Times March 19, 2010
  16. ↑ (in) Vincere [ archive ] on Rotten Tomatoes website .
  17. ↑ (in) Vincere [ archive ] on the Metacritic site .
  18. ↑ Vincerearchive ] entries on the Allociné website .
  19. ↑ Vincere [ archive ] on the site
  20. ↑ Vincere [ archive ] on the Lumières database.
  21. ↑ Box office Vincere [ archive ] in IMDb

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