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Vincere (in English, 'To Win') is an Italian film based on the life of Benito Mussolini's first wife, Ida Dalser. It stars Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Dalser and Filippo Timi as Mussolini. It was filmed under the direction of Marco Bellocchio, who also wrote the screenplay with Daniela Ceselli, and it was released 22 May 2009 in Italy. It was the only Italian film in competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

English-language poster
Directed byMarco Bellocchio
Produced byMario Gianani
Written byMarco Bellocchio
Daniela Ceselli
StarringGiovanna Mezzogiorno
Filippo Timi
Fausto Russo Alesi
Michela Cescon
Pier Giorgio Bellocchio
Corrado Invernizzi
Music byCarlo Crivelli
CinematographyDaniele Ciprì
Edited byFrancesca Calvelli
Distributed by01 Distribution
IFC Films
Release date
  • 19 May 2009 (2009-05-19) (Cannes Festival)
  • 20 May 2009 (2009-05-20) (Italy)
  • 25 November 2009 (2009-11-25) (France)
Running time
128 minutes
Budget9 million €
Box office2,089,000 €

It won four Silver Hugos at the Chicago International Film Festival (Best Actor (Filippo Timi), Best Actress (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), Best Director and Best Cinematography (Daniele Ciprì).[2] and won four Silver Ribbon (Actress (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), Cinematography, Editing and Art Direction). Giovanna Mezzogiorno was rewarded with the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress 2010.



The film opens in 1907, with Ida Dalser watching a speech by the young journalist and socialist Benito Mussolini. She immediately falls in love with him, and they begin a torrid affair. Mussolini initially opposes Italian involvement in the European war, but then reverses his position. This leads to his expulsion from the Socialist Party, and he develops a new political philosophy, which will become fascism. He decides to start a newspaper to expound his views, and Dalser sells all her belongings to finance it. They have a son, Benito, then Mussolini goes to war, and Dalser does not hear from him for a long time. When she does, he is in hospital recovering from wounds, but when she goes to visit him, she finds that he has a new wife and a daughter. Dalser insists that he is legally married to her, but he denies it.

From then on, Mussolini appears in the film only in actual newsreels, reflecting the fact that Dalser never sees him in person again. By the early 1920s, he is Italy's leader, and in the process of concluding a concordat with the Vatican. Dalser intensifies her campaign to prove that she is Mussolini's wife and that her son, Benito Albino, is legitimate. She finds that all the might of the fascist state is turned against her. She is committed to an asylum, and when she continues to protest from there by writing to the newspapers, and even to the pope, Benito Albino is committed to a different asylum. Dalser descends gradually into madness. Although the film ends with a caption listing the official cause for their deaths (Dalser in 1937 and Benito Albino in 1942), its last scenes hint at the possibility that one or both of them were murdered.



The film received universal acclaim from film critics, with rating of 85 from the review aggregate site Metacritic,[3] as well as a 92% "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes with the site's consensus being: "Part political treatise, part melodrama, Marco Bellocchio's Mussolini biopic forsakes historical details in favor of absorbing emotion -- and provides a showcase for a stunning performance from Giovanna Mezzogiorno."[4]

Vincere was well received by French critics during the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and was considered to be a possible Palme d'Or contender, along with Un Prophète from Jacques Audiard and The White Ribbon from Michael Haneke.[5]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Vincere". Retrieved 9 May 2009.
  2. ^ Awards for 2009 (Retrieved Nov. 9, 2015).
  3. ^ "Vincere".
  4. ^ "Vincere".
  5. ^ Audiard, Haneke ou Bellochio? in Le Monde

External linksEdit