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THE BEST OF YOUTH
aka LA MEGLIO GIOVENTŮ
USA: Miramax Films
UK: Buena Vista International UK
Cast: Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Adriana Asti, Sonia Bergamasco, Fabrizio Gifuni, Maya Sansa, Valentina Carnelutti, Jasmine Trinca, Andrea Tidona, Lidia Vitale, Camilla Filippi, Greta Cavuoti, Sara Pavoncello, Claudio Gioe, Paolo Bonanni, Riccardo Scamarcio, Giovanni Scifoni, Mario Schiano, Michele Melega, Therese Vadem, Stefano Abbati, Giovanni Martorana, Paolo De Vita, Mimmo Mignemi, Domenico Centamore, Pippo Montalbano, Gaspare Cucinella, Dario Veca, Nicola Vigilante, Marcello Prayer, Walter Da Pozzo, Krum De Nicola, Maurizio Di Carmine, Roberto Accornero, Fabio Camilli, Antonello Puglisi, Patrizia Punzo, Nila Carnelutti, Francesco La Macch
Director: Marco Tullio Giordana
Language: Italian (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 373 mins (part 1: 188 mins & part 2: 185 mins)
USA Rated (parts 1 & 2): R for language and brief nudity
UK Certificate (parts 1 & 2): 15 contains strong language
USA Release Date: 2 March 2005 (Limited Release Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 2 July 2004
Director Marco Tullio Giordana's passionate epic THE BEST OF YOUTH tells the story of an Italian family spanning four decades, from the chaotic 1960s to the present. The lives of two brothers, Nicola and Matteo Carati, are the heart of the story. At first they share the same dreams, the same hopes, the same books and friendships. Meeting Giorgia (Jasmine Trinca), a girl with mental disorders, will be determinant for the future of the two brothers: Nicola (Luigi Lo Cascio) travels the world and settles for a life as a successful psychiatrist, while his tragically introverted and idealist brother Matteo abandons his studies and joins the Italian police with the hope of righting society's wrongs.
Angelo (Andrea Tidona), the father, is a loving parent and husband. The family experiences his exuberance with tolerant complaisance. Adriana (Adriana Asti), the mother, is a modern and irreproachable teacher, who loves her pupils like her own children.
Then we have Giovanna (Lidia Vitale), the eldest daughter, who joined the magistracy very young, and Francesca (Valentina Carnelutti), the last member of the family. She will marry Carlo (Fabrizio Gifuni), Nicola's best friend, who will take up an important role in the Bank of Italy and will, therefore, be in the sights of terrorist groups during the "leaden years" ('Anni di piombo' known as the "leaden years" is the term given to the 1970s in Italy, as the decade was marked by violent protest and intense terrorist activity). These are the members of the family.
The last characters are Giulia (Sonia Bergamasco), Nicola's greatest love, who will give birth to Sara, and Mirella, who will bump, in different moments and different ways, into the lives of Matteo and Nicola.
Through this little group of characters THE BEST OF YOUTH deals with the most crucial events and sites of Italy's history: Florence during the flooding, Sicily and its struggle against the Mafia, the great football matches that saw Italy's national team playing against Korea and Germany, songs that mark an epoch, Turin during the 70s with its blue-collar-workers, Milan during the 80s, the youth movements, terrorism, the crisis during the 90s, the efforts made to rebuild and reinvent a modern nation. Our characters will reluctantly pursue their passions - they will stumble over history, they will grow up, hurt themselves, nurture new illusions and put themselves at stake again. Like it happens for everyone.
THE BEST OF YOUTH - both the title of a Friulian poetry collection by Pier Paolo Pasolini and an old song, sung by the Alpine troops - is the portrait of a generation, that tried - despite its contradictions, its ingenuous and violent furies, its authoritative voice, sometimes out of tune - not to accept the world as it is, but to make it a little bit better than they found it.
Winner: Jury Prize, Un Certain Regard, Cannes Film Festival 2003.