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In the Name of the Father

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Original title
Nel nome del padre
Running time
90 min.
Italy Italy
Marco Bellocchio
Nicola Piovani
Franco di Giacomo
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Vides Cinematografica
Drama | Religion
Synopsis / Plot
This is one of the fiercest and most acute attacks on religion, power and authority. Bellochio, one of the uncompromising directors in Italy, provides with In the Name of the Father a caustic examination of the way authoritarian institutions operate in stripping people frown their individuality. It deals with a Jesuit institution for rich delinquents and it focuses on Angelo (Yves Beneyton) a rebellious student who eventually clashes with the religious authority. There are here themes encountered in Vigo's Zero de Conduite, and in Lindsay Anderson's If.... but Bellochio's treatment of them generates a more powerful and blunt exposition of middle-class values usually embodied in institutions like the Church, the Army or the family. But as is mostly the case with Italian cinema - the best ambassador of political flimmaking - there are in Bellochio's film quite important but skilfully veiled political implications which recall Pasolini and early Bertolucci.

The gradually decreasing influence of the Church as well as the stage "before the revolution" which Italian society has found itself so often, now being replaced by another form of oppression namely capitalism along with its technological offsets, are all present in this deeply anarchic and perceptive film. Bellochio, in a Buñuelian manner, conjures Surreal images giving In the Name of the Father a weirdly beautiful atmosphere, full of black leather uniforms and strange Madonnas, matching perfectly stylistic innovation with a subversive content. A controversial and anarchic minor masterpiece. Review by Spiros Gangas, Taken from Edinburgh University
Film Society Programme 1993-94.
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