Marco Tullio Giordana’s The Best of Youth was one of the most impressive historical dramas of the last decade that just happened to be covering a period many people in Italy themselves lived through. The movie balanced the lives of the fictional Carati family against the turbulence of the ’60s in a way that emphasized the way external events can alter personal choices.
Giordana’s newest film Piazza Forana: The Italian Conspiracy inverts that dynamic, instead expanding its focus onto the sweeping political currents that have the capability to sweep away all trace of personal identity.
Once again, Giordana plunges deep into the morass of the late ’60s, the heated conflict between fascists and anarchists that came to a head following the bombing of the Piazza Fontana bank building in December 1969. The bombing led to a series of investigations that went on for decades without any firm solid answer on what happened. The contentious atmosphere, however, led to not only one suspect’s mysterious death under questioning, but also the murder of police officer Luigi Calabresi in retaliation for the unsolved suspect’s death.
Giordana’s film is complex and presumes some familiarity with the event going in. Like Oliver Stone directing JFK, he depicts a multitude of possible scenarios for who was doing what when, which would make it tough enough for some audiences to keep up even if Giordana wasn’t also seemingly ripping a page from the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy remake’s playbook of stacking dense plot points atop of one another and filming the entire proceedings with immaculate, jaundiced cinematography.
The effect is often dizzying, but the outcome might leave more than a few hanging.
Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy plays at St. Anthony Main Theater today at 4:40 p.m.
Other Highlights: Wednesday, April 17
In the Fog. The latest film from My Joy director Sergei Loznitsa, In the Fog competed at Cannes but flopped in its native Russia. Vladimir Svirskiy plays Sushenya, a man accused of a crime he didn’t commit amid German occupation during WWII. (6:45 p.m.; also playing Tuesday, April 23 at 4:30 p.m.)
Minnesota-Made Narrative Shorts. One of three shorts programs showcasing the narrative talents of Minnesota filmmakers, this one includes the grisly comedy Undying Love (think The Walking Dead by way of Runaway Bride); the domestic portraits Alma, Fray and Golden; and a timely look at the current situation in North Korea, The Defector. (7 p.m.)
Lunarcy! A quirky dose of crisp Canadian air blows through this documentary about various people obsessed with the moon. Much as it was with the Star Trek documentary Trekkies some years back, the film avoids condescending to its subjects, though director Simon Ennis doesn’t exactly shy away from their more ridiculous traits, either. (9:45 p.m.)
Throughout the entirety of the 2013 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, we’ll be spotlighting one notable movie each day, along with other notable screenings. To see the WCCO Movie Blog’s complete coverage on the MSPIFF, click here.