A Rarefied Spiritual Struggle


One of the last instances of New Left terror occurred in 1978 when Red Brigade extremists abducted Italian politician Aldo Moro. The five-time prime minister was held for two months, tried by a “people’s court,” and executed. Marco Bellocchio’s Good Morning, Night dramatizes this captivity as a rarefied spiritual struggle. The movie begins with a couple renting a flat; it’s soon apparent they’re preparing the apartment for something other than family life. One morning, Chiara (Maya Sansa) hears helicopters; she flips on the TV and all but levitates to learn Moro’s been kidnapped. Bellocchio doesn’t stage the abduction. Typical of his understated magic realism, he has a frantic neighbor hand her baby to Chiara at precisely the wrong moment—infant precariously parked on the couch as Chiara’s comrades rush in with the crate containing Moro. A childlike creature captivated more by fireworks than ideology, Chiara provides the front of respectability; she’s the only one with a job, a messenger between the worlds. Events are filtered through her consciousness, and the fatherly captive figures in her dreams. Irrationality is everywhere. Moro’s family holds a séance, Moro pleads for an impossible “life sentence,” and even his killers cross themselves before the deed—which Bellocchio again declines to show. Good Morning, Night is sober yet filled with fancy. Chiara’s last dream is a jaw-dropper—as though Bellocchio imagined this cruel story through the wrong end of a telescope and staged it in a snow globe.

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