“Esterno notte”, on Arte, the passion of Aldo Moro according to Marco Bellocchio
Exactly forty-five years ago, a man was hidden behind a false partition, at the back of a hiding place in a Roman apartment. On March 16, 1978, a commando from the Red Brigades kidnapped Aldo Moro, president of the Christian Democracy, after having killed the five members of his escort. Fifty-five days later, Aldo Moro’s body was found in the trunk of a Renault 4, via Caetani, still in Rome.
In 2003, Marco Bellocchio staged these days in a feature film, Buongiorno, note (“hello, night”), whose title said the essence of the event for the filmmaker: the twilight of the possibilities born with the fall of fascism, the entry into endless darkness. This moment was embodied in the confrontation between the detained politician and one of his jailers.
Two decades later, Bellocchio, now 83, plunges back into the night, widening the field. Esterno note translates to “night exterior”. To give his story the possibility of embracing the march towards obscurity of an entire country, the filmmaker chose the episodic form. But, rather than a soap opera, Esterno note evokes a polyptych, a painting in six panels, each of which highlights one of the actors in the tragedy. As if, at the back of a church, we discovered a masterpiece dedicated to a martyr, whose glorious and painful image is surrounded by representations of his executioners, of those who betrayed him or loved him. .
Each episode of the series broadcast on Arte – we could also say each chapter of this film, which bears the imprint of its author so deeply – first pushes Aldo Moro himself (Fabrizio Gifuni) to the fore, that the we see struggling to convince his colleagues in the Christian Democracy to form a parliamentary supermajority with the Italian Communist Party, a process then referred to as the “historic compromise”. It is a question of bringing Italy out of the political trap in which three decades of Christian Democrat hegemony have locked it up. Bellocchio and his actor show Moro as a political ascetic, moved as much by his historical analyzes as by an omnipresent Catholic faith in his public life and in his sad private life. Eleonora (Margherita Buy), his wife, has moved away from him, which does not exempt him from lying down every evening by her side on the matrimonial letter.
You would have to be a very fine connoisseur of Italian history to measure the part of hagiography that Marco Bellocchio puts in this portrait of Aldo Moro. It certainly stems from a sincere empathy for this man who, despite his propensity for contrition, refused his martyrdom to the end, urging his companions to save him, even at the cost of negotiations with the Red Brigades. This ultimately quite simple image also allows the filmmaker to highlight the complexity, and often the darkness, of the other actors in the drama, in this case the Minister of the Interior and future President of the Republic Francesco Cossiga (Fausto Russo Alesi) , Pope Paul VI (Toni Servillo), brigadista Adriana Faranda (Daniela Marra) and Eleonora Moro.
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