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The Best of Youth (Disc 1 of 2) back to product details

"The Best" of Everything
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written by talltale February 12, 2006 - 4:44 PM PST
8 out of 9 members found this review helpful
OK: Maybe this Italian family epic spanning forty years IS soap opera of sorts. But THE BEST OF YOUTH--directed with unsurpassed beauty, humanity and occasional brilliance by Marco Tullio Giordana ("I Cento Passi")--is so far above any other epic soaps I can recall, including our own "Gone With the Wind" and "Doctor Zhivago" that it belongs on the Don't-Miss list of any purported movie lover.

Clocking in at just over six hours, it's lengthy, but I wouldn't have forgone a single minute. Made for Italian television, which (under the Berlusconi hand, I suspect) refused to air it, the footage was taken to Cannes, where it won a top prize, thus embarrassing Italian TV into finally showing it). Given a cursory release here in the U.S., it nonetheless ended up on a number of 10-Best Lists (A. O. Scott of The NY Times chose it as the best of the year). Now it's found perhaps its real home on DVD, where it can be viewed in one-, two- or three-hour segments. (When you come back to it, start at the beginning, then click forward segment by segment. This will quickly bring some of the richness of each past event to mind, thus readying you to proceed.)

Beginning in the 60s with the mundane task of family members having to transport a TV set, the film quickly captures your attention and never lets go, through growth, love, aging, death (timely and not), losing, winning, and new generations. Coincidences happen, but not beyond the frequency with which they occur in our lives. Italian history happens, too--political, economic, social--and it's mirrored within and without the characters. The history is different, but not all THAT different, from the history of other European countries or America, and this adds to the intelligence and enjoyment the movie brings.

No film I have seen in years has made me feel so deeply, strongly and consistently for its characters--all of whom are now indelibly fixed in my mind. While this is due, of course, to the length involved, it is even more because of the talent and love of country and humanity on display from everyone in front of, and behind, the camera. "Bravo" is just too puny a word to express my gratitude.

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(Average 7.83)
63 Votes
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