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イーダは、第一次世界大戦勃発前、「ドゥーチェ（Duce,、統帥）」の呼び名で知られるムッソリーニが、イタリア北部国境沿いの街・トレントでイタリア社会党の日刊紙『アヴァンティ!』（前進）の編集長をしていた頃に知り合い、結婚。経営していた美容院を含む全財産を売り払って、ムッソリーニが設立した日刊紙「ポポロ＝ディタリア（Il Popolo d’Italia／イタリアの人民）」に出資する等、献身的に彼を支えた。しかし、ムッソリーニの子を妊娠していることが分かったある日、1915年にムッソリーニと結婚したラケーレ・グイディ（Rachele Guidi）とその娘が彼に会いに来たのを目撃。その後ムッソリーニのイーダへの愛は冷めるが、イーダは彼をストーカーまがいに追い続け、疎ましがられた末にトレントの妹の家に強制的に追いやられ、地元警察の厳しい監視下に置かれた。それでも執拗に諦めないイーダは、とうとう精神病院に強制収容され、1937年に57歳で亡くなるまで病院生活を余儀なくされた。彼女の息子も、伯父・叔母の家から連れ去られ、ファシスト党員の養子になり、寄宿舎で教育を受けた後に海軍入隊、常にファシスト政府の監視下に置かれていた。彼も、最後までムッソリーニが父親だと公言していたため、精神病院に入れられ、27歳の若さで死んだ。
This is another movie we saw at London Film Festival, an Italian–French movie “Vincere (Win).” Vincere, the only Italian movie shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is about the tragic life of Ida Dalser, the “first wife” of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, based on a book “la moglie di Mussolini (wife of Mussolini, 2005)” by an Italian journalist Marco Zeni. The story of Mussolini’s first marriage was suppressed during fascist rule, and remained generally unknown for years afterwards. Vincere stars Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Ida, Ida Dalser and Filippo Timi as young Mussolini and Ida’s son Benito Albino Mussolini.
Ida met “Duce” (nickname for Mussolini) in the northern border city Trento, when he was working as an editor of the Socialist Party newspaper Avanti! before World War I. Ida financed him to set up his own newspaper “Il Popolo d’Italia (people of Italy)” by selling everything she had including her beauty salon, and later they married. One day she came to tell Mussolini that she was pregnant, but soon she was kicked out from his office when another woman with her daughter showed up – Rachele Guidi whom Mussolini married on 1915. Mussolini’s love for Ida soon disappeared but Ida didn’t give up – she was chasing him all over the place, and she and her son were ordered to move in with her sister and her every move had been watched by the local police. Ida still tried to win back her love to the point of extreme, and was forcefully hospitalized in a mental institution. She had never allowed to leave the hospital until when she died at the age of 57. Her son, Benito Albino was abducted from his uncle’s house by government agents, and was adopted as an orphan by the fascist ex-police chief. He was educated at a boarding school and later enrolled in the navy, and always remained under close surveillance by the fascist government. He also insisted that Mussolini was his father, and was eventually forcibly interned in an asylum, where he died in 1942, aged 27.
Ida was dumped by Mussolini, who had no friend but tons of women, but had never given up her hope that Mussolini would come back to her one day, but finished her life at mental hospital, even separated from her beloved son – such a heartbreaking story. The cinematography mixed with archival black & white footage and edited in Futurist style, which had strong tie with Italian fascism, is dramatic and atmospheric. I enjoyed the movie, but if I have to find a problem, it would be (1) Filippo Timi is too good-looking and I couldn’t connect him with real Mussolini in the archive films, and (2) 128 min screening time is unnecessarily too long (especially the sex scenes of Ida and Mussolini goes on and on!) .