Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno Notte)

  • Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno Notte)
  • Director: Marco Bellocchio
  • Year: 2003

Good Morning, Night is a powerful and haunting film in which writer/director Marco Bellocchio re-imagines the circumstances of the real-life kidnapping of the former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro.

The Kidnapping of Aldo Moro

(This review contains spoilers relating to the historical background of the film, although the facts are well-known enough in Italy that the filmmakers would expect the audience to know them before seeing the film.) Aldo Moro was kidnapped in Rome on March 16, 1978. The kidnappers were members of the Red Brigades, a militant communist organisation who were responsible for thousands of acts of violence in Italy during the seventies (a period known in Italy as i anni piombi, or "years of lead"). The kidnappers, led by Mario Moretti, initially intended to exchange Moro for several terrorist prisoners, but the Italian government refused to negotiate. After almost eight weeks, the kidnappers executed Moro and left his body in the boot of a car in a Roman street. The kidnappers themselves were later arrested and convicted.

The Film

Good Morning, Night (aka Buongiorno Notte) Good Morning, Night

Marco Bellocchio, whose previous films include The Devil in the Flesh and I Pugni in Tasca, treats the story with a compelling sense of visual style. He centres the film on the character of Chiara, a member of the Brigades who takes no active part in the kidnapping itself, but who rents the apartment in which Moro is held. While the kidnappers remain sealed in the apartment with their hostage, Chiara continues to lead a normal life, and her trips to work open the scope of the film to show the public response to the kidnapping and the difficult political environment in general. As the weeks pass and the chances of successful negotiations deteriorate, the passive Chiara grows increasingly unhappy with the situation. Good Morning, Night is beautifully shot, and the use of archive footage and sequences of dream-like wish-fulfillment do a good job of taking the viewer inside Chiara's troubled mind.

The DVD

Good Morning, Night has been released on DVD in the UK and the USA. Both editions of the film include the trailer and also a fascinating hour-long documentary entitled Same Rage, Same Spring which combines a biography of Marco Bellocchio with information on the historical kidnapping, including interviews with both the actors and, eerily, the real-life kidnappers.