×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Novecento

Bernardo Bertolucci spent three years to co-author, prepare and direct this epic film. 1900 has a total running time of five hours and 20 minutes, 163 minutes before the break and 157 minutes to curtain.

With:
Burt Lancaster Robert De Niro Sterling Hayden Gerard Depardieu Dominique Sanda Stefania Sandrelli

Bernardo Bertolucci spent three years to co-author, prepare and direct this epic film. 1900 has a total running time of five hours and 20 minutes, 163 minutes before the break and 157 minutes to curtain.

Bertolucci’s ambitious generational canvas is elaborately constructed. One pattern is cyclical – childhood summer, ravages of war and fascism in fall and winter, and time of hope and liberation in spring. Spine of the saga, however, is the dialectical interlock of two families – landowners and sharecroppers – from 1900 to Italy’s liberation in 1945. An insignificant epilog projects the class conflict to present day.

Within this framework, Bertolucci introduces a patriarchal landowner, Alfredo Berlinghieri (Burt Lancaster) and an equally sturdy family head, Leo Dalco (Sterling Hayden). Berlinghieri and Falco polarize the intricate genealogies, the social chasms and the human overlap in a lyric opening, ripe with Bertolucci nostalgia for the magical naturalism and folk culture of his Emilia region at the turn of the century.

Awkward then deepening friendship of the two grandsons, Alfredo (Robert De Niro) and Olmo (Gerard Depardieu), opens an arc that spans the entire film. Highlight sequence is the first strike of farmhands (1908). End of World War I and homecoming of Alfredo and Olmo renews ties and conflicts as mechanization reaches the countryside.

As fascism takes power, Alfredo inherits the farm estate and marries Ada (Dominique Sanda), an urban beauty. Olmo marries a militant schoolteacher who dies in childbirth. He becomes a Communist and is forced to flee. With the liberation, Olmo returns and the peasants fleetingly take over.

Hayden’s role as a farmworker bridging two centuries comes off as the crowning effort of his long career. Lancaster and Depardieu are key cast cogs, while a sober De Niro is somewhat overshadowed by a role condemning him to passivity. Donald Sutherland is evil enough as the fascist chief but is outplayed by Laura Betti as his wife.

[Paramount released a 248-min. English version in the US.]

Popular on Variety

Novecento

Italy - France - W. Germany

Production: PEA/Artistes Associes/Artemis. Director Bernardo Bertolucci; Producer Alberto Grimaldi; Screenplay Bernardo Bertolucci, Franco Arcalli, Giuseppe Bertolucci; Camera Vittorio Storaro; Editor Franco Arcalli; Music Ennio Morricone; Art Director Ezio Frigerio

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 320 MIN.

With: Burt Lancaster Robert De Niro Sterling Hayden Gerard Depardieu Dominique Sanda Stefania Sandrelli

More Film

  • Accept the Call

    Eunice Lau Returns to Singapore With Hard-Hitting Documentary ‘Accept The Call’

    New York-based Singaporean filmmaker Eunice Lau is back in her home country for the Asian premiere of her impactful documentary “Accept The Call” at the Singapore International Film Festival. This is the film’s third outing, after premiering at the Human Rights Watch and Woodstock Film festivals. In Woodstock, it received a special mention for best [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez stars in HUSTLERS

    Spirit Awards: Jennifer Lopez Picks Up Oscar Steam, but What Happened to 'Waves'?

    Jennifer Lopez is one step closer to getting an Oscar nomination. J.Lo received her first Film Independent Spirit Award nomination this morning for best supporting female for STX’s “Hustlers.” Awards buzz began building for Lopez as soon as the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September. While Regina King won both the Spirit [...]

  • Depeche ModeDepeche Mode in concert at

    Anton Corbijn on his Latest Depeche Mode Collab: Concert Film 'Spirits in the Forest'

    The members of Depeche Mode take a backseat in Anton Corbijn’s new concert film, “Depeche Mode: Spirits in the Forest.” Instead, the director shifts the spotlight to six fans, whose personal stories are woven throughout footage from the final night of band’s Global Spirit Tour in Berlin. Originally, the Dutch director simply wanted to create [...]

  • The Aeronauts

    How Lee Walpole Created Complete Sonic Immersion for 'The Aeronauts'

    For Lee Walpole, sound mixing and editing for “The Aeronauts” was about cause and effect. “If she (Felicity Jones) pulls a line in the basket, the line must affect the balloon and they get picked up by the wind. It’s cause and effect. You hear a wisp of wind, you hear a flutter of the [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    'The Lighthouse,' 'Uncut Gems' Lead Spirit Awards Nominations

    Horror story “The Lighthouse” and Adam Sandler’s crime thriller “Uncut Gems” led the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards nominations with five each, while “Give Me Liberty” and “Honey Boy” took four apiece. “Uncut Gems,” Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” Chinonye Chukwu’s “Clemency,” Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” are up for best [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content