Captain Silvio Orlando Braccio Claudio Amendola Giulia Francesca Neri Concilio Vincenzo Peluso Officer Bonoli Stefano Accorsi
A Persuasively performed chamber drama on the ideological debris left behind by the terrorist movement, “My Generation” plays like a companion piece to Mimmo Calopresti’s 1996 Cannes competition entry “The Second Time” (La Seconda Volta), offering another perspective on the urban militancy that shook Italy in the 1970 s. The intimate scale of this sober examination of complex questions of repentance and amnesty appears likely to limit theatrical play, but it should surface in quality foreign-language TV slots.
Action takes place in a 24-hour period in 1983, during which Braccio (Claudio Amendola), a convicted terrorist four years into a 30-year sentence, is transferred from a Sicilian prison to Milan, where he is to have one month of visiting rights with his girlfriend Giulia (Francesca Neri).
The apparently sympathetic [7mcarabinieri[22;27m captain (Silvio Orlando) assigned to escort Braccio uses his proximity during the long journey by armored car to probe into the prisoner’s case. In reality a trained specialist in terrorist matters, the captain’s real aim is to manipulate Braccio into naming the accomplices in the incident for which he was arrested. In exchange, he offers the false hope of permanent relocation to Milan and perhaps even a reduced sentence.
Cutting between the claustrophobic police vehicle and Giulia in Milan preparing with trepidation for Braccio’s arrival, the drama builds steadily as the prisoner’s resistance takes a hammering and he is forced to make a momentous ethical decision.
The central conflict between Braccio and the captain also is shaped by the events they encounter — a village unemployment protest; an uprising in the aftermath of another terrorist killing; a workers’ strike in Bologna — and by the presence of a cocksure common thief (Vincenzo Peluso) they are forced to take on board.
Director Wilma Labate and prominent screenwriter Sandro Petraglia penned the script with Paolo Lapponi and Andrea Leoni, both of whom served prison sentences for militant activity during the terrorist years. While it benefits from a feeling of first-hand authenticity, the writing perhaps could be accused of applying 1990s hindsight to observations that seem improbable in the early ’80s, when the terrorism phenomenon was still in its waning days.
Despite this, the film remains a level-headed reflection on the period and its aftermath, distinguished by its solid dramatic structure and uncompromisingly bitter conclusion.
Much of the dramatic backbone comes from the two central characterizations. Orlando’s law enforcement officer is challengingly duplicitous, presenting a sensitive, human face that masks his task of psychological assessment and calculation. Departing from his customary tough-guy roles, Amendola’s performance is a highly contained portrayal of intelligence and unstated remorse.
A small-scale production with something of the stamp of quality TV drama, the film has been given a somber look by lenser Alessandro Pesci that’s matched by Nicola Piovani’s solemn score.