The most recent effort from veteran Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio (Fist in His Pocket
) is a collage of expressionistic flashes and newsreel footage pasted within the borders of a plodding historical drama. The film begins by telling the story of young Benito Mussolini's rise to power, but quickly shifts focus to Ida Dalser, the rejected lover (and possibly first wife) of Il Duce. Bellochio is not aiming for realism, and his story is serviced by narrative gambles, drawing Dalser's story along the lines of her blind obsession rather than detailed explanation of her motivation. Visually exciting when he wants to be, Bellochio seems unsure whether to remain faithful to Dalser's tragic story or bend it into a delirious metaphor for the relationship of masochism do devotion.