Good Morning, Night (15)

Written by Marco Bellochio, Anna Laura Braghetti and Paola Tavella, Directed by Marco Bellochio
Screening at FACT from 31st December 2004 - 6th January 2005

Reviewed by Adam Ford

In 1978, a group of would-be revolutionaries kidnapped the Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro. Calling themselves the ‘Brigate Rosse’ or Red Brigades, the group genuinely believed their actions would trigger a huge working class uprising. Instead, the general public was horrified by their actions, and supported the resulting clampdown on left wing groups. Good Morning, Night is the story of the two months between Moro’s capture and killing. Or at least it is one version of events.

As a piece of cinema, the film works very well. Bellochio’s use of lighting and archive footage brings the viewer right into the claustrophobic flat that imprisons both the hostage and his hijackers. A sense of creeping despondency pours from the screen as the expected revolution fails to materialise, and Maya Sansa is captivating as Chiara - the reluctant female kidnapper struggling to reconcile her Catholic upbringing with her desire for political change.

Good Morning, Night is based on The Prisoner – a book by one of the kidnappers. Like Chiara she is clearly full of remorse for her late seventies activities. The Brigades are portrayed as unfeeling cultish terrorists, more interested in their own egos and dogma than the working class they supposedly represented. On the other hand, the Prime Minister was just a kindly old man who just wanted to get back to his family. Certainly, this is the picture that the Italian establishment would like to see presented, but perhaps other former Brigaders would have a different, more interesting perspective.