Thursday, May 26, 2005

40 Years in a Day

Ok, I finally forced myself to run down to the Balboa Theatre to see "The Best of Youth" (La Meglio giovent├╣). All six hours and six minutes of it. Screened in two parts of three hours each. And that is the short US version. The original is nearly seven hours long.

It is a beautiful experience. Particularly part one. The film follows a family in Italy from 1966 to 2003. The performances are exceptional! Especially those of the principals who play the characters for the entire 40 year period! Yes, they might seem a bit older than college students (where it begins) and perhaps they never truly appear to be in their sixties by the end, but that's not really the point. (Plus if you can watch "Smallville" featuring the country's oldest high school graduates without wincing, then this is a breeze!) It's watching the family deal with and change with the times that is totally absorbing. I was never bored and only began to feel the length in the fifth hour, when the film takes a little bit too much time to do a little bit too much wrapping up. However, that is just my opinion. The opinion of the woman sitting in the row behind me would be much stronger, as she was a sobbing mess through most of the last two hours.

I can only assume that it was originally produced for television, which explains its length and the preponderance of close-ups. However, it's a pretty, pretty cast, so that's no problem! (The 1966 sequence is particularly nice to look at!) I don't know if it has a wide distribution, though it has garnered a great deal of press and reviews, so perhaps it is playing near everyone... Today was it's closing day at the Balboa after having been there for 8 weeks or so.

I would be quite willing to find this on DVD! Especially to see what those other 40+ minutes were about!

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