The Best of Youth (image 1)

This engrossing saga illuminates four decades of Italian political and social change through the experience of one extended middle-class family.

Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

The Best of Youth 2003

La Meglio gioventù

Directed by Marco Tullio Giordana

Italy In Italian with English subtitles
366 minutes 35mm

Screenplay

Sandro Petraglia
,
Stefano Rulli

Photography

Roberto Forza

Editor

Roberto Missiroli

With

Luigi Lo Cascio
,
Alessio Boni
,
Adriana Asti
,
Sonia Bergamasco
,
Fabrizio Gifuni
,
Maya Sansa

Festivals

Cannes (Un Certain Regard), Toronto, New York, Vancouver, London 2003; Rotterdam 2004

Awards

Audience Award, Voted Most Popular Film, Rotterdam 2004

Elsewhere

If you love a long, absorbing family saga, prepare to sink happily into the comfortable new seats at the Academy Cinema. Two brothers stand at the centre of this picture: the intense, slightly enigmatic Matteo and the easygoing, younger Nicola are both students at the outset, impressive specimens of 60s idealism. Though their love for each other never wavers, they are to follow radically divergent paths in pursuit of similar goals. Originally screened as a mini-series on Italian television, The Best of Youth has been enormously popular throughout Europe in this two-part theatrical version.

“The story [Giordana] has to tell… is full of nuance and complexity, but it is also as accessible and engrossing as a grand 19th-century novel… There is so much life in these six hours – 37 years, to the extent that you can quantify it – that you may marvel at Giordana’s economy… But what is most arresting about The Best of Youth is how gracefully it enfolds its characters within their historical context, and how fully it respects their individuality… Giordana’s sympathetic gaze seems to fall, with mellow radiance, on all generations and ideological persuasions… The extended dénouement is very much in keeping with the capaciousness and warmth of this wonderful film. Long as it is, you hate to see it end.” — A.O. Scott, NY Times 

“The sure sense of time and place in Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli’s complex but beautifully lucid script and the visceral depth and subtlety of the performances Giordana elicits from his large cast result in classical storytelling of the highest order.” — Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound