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Essential Event Info

W H A T :

  • Running time 125 minutes. In Italian (and some German) with English subtitles.
  • Genre: Historical Drama.
  • Discussion after the film.
  • This film is "NR" (not rated). We suggest "R" for sexual situations.

  • W H E N :

  • Wednesday, May 19, 7:30 pm
  • Thursday, May 20, 7:30 pm

  • 6:00 pm: social hour, cash bar and "A Taste of Italy" hosted by the Europa Bistro & Cafe.
    7:00 pm: film seating.
    7:30 pm: film begins.
    9:35 pm: post-film discussion with Sante Matteo, Martha Viehmann and Maria Romagnoli.

    W H E R E :

  • Carnegie Arts Center
    1028 Scott Blvd., Covington KY 41011   859-491-2030
  • Easy Access, Free Parking:
    Printable PDF parking map
    Printable JPG parking map
    Interactive directional map
    Printable map and written directions

    T I C K E T S :

  • Tickets are $8* in advance and $10* at the door.
  • Tickets for students and Enjoy the Arts members with valid ID are $8*, available only at the door.
  • Tickets for WVXU PERKS Cardholders with valid ID are $8*, available only at the door.

  •  * NOTE: Any ticket physically sold by the CARNEGIE incurs a $1.00 facility charge IN ADDITION to the face value of the ticket -- this applies to tix purchased in advance by phone or in person, and tix sold at the door.
  • Advance tickets purchased at local outlets are not subject to service charges.
  • Advance tickets obtained online incur a small sliding scale service charge, levied by our ticketing service, TicketFusion.

    How to get Tickets

  • Click here for online tickets

    By phone:
  • The Carnegie, 859-491-2030, Tue-Fri 12-5p
  • Tollfree, 877-548-3237, Mon-Fri 9a-7p

    In person at these area locations
    (click each for map):

  • Clifton-Ludlow Ave. -
      Sitwell's Coffee House
      513 281 7487  324 Ludlow Ave, Cincinnati 45220

  • Mt. Lookout Square -
      Lookout Joe Coffee Roasters
      513 871 8626  3181 Linwood Ave, Cincinnati 45208

  • Northside-Hamilton Ave -
      Shake It Music & Video
      513 591 0123  4156 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati 45223

  • Downtown Cincinnati -
      Coffee Emporium
      513 651 5483  110 E. Central Pkwy, Cincinnati 45202

  • Covington -
      The Carnegie
      859-491-2030  1028 Scott Blvd, Covington KY, 41011

    Tickets will also be on sale at the door, subject to availability.

    Discount coupon on the back is valid at the Coffee Emporium, Lookout Joe or Sitwell's Coffee House.

  • Phone, 859.957.3456, Mon-Sat 9a-6p, voicemail 24x7
  • Email, via "Contact" in the Main Menu

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    Social Hour & Taste of Italy

    Bring an appetite!    Starting at 6:00 pm in the Carnegie's main gallery, Europa Bistro & Cafe will offer some of their delicacies for a "Taste of Italy."   For example...

    Cincinnati World Cinema :: Vincere Slide Show

    Right-click to download the Taste of Italy Menu  Right-click to download / print the complete "Taste of Italy" Menu (pdf)


  • First-run - and only - screenings in Cincinnati
    ~ 2 Nights Only ~

    A love story dramatically gone wrong, framed by modern history and based on actual events, consumed by passion, deception and obsession.

    VINCERE IS SET AGAINST the backdrop of national revolt and young Benito Mussolini's rise to power in Italy, and tells the tumultuous story of two lovers — Mussolini and Ida Dalser, the fiery woman who was presumably his first wife and mother of his son. Transcending conventional love story, Vincere has many operatic elements and uses other films and cinema settings within the film to denote events and the passage of time, all of which pull the viewer deeper into the story.

    DALSER AND MUSSOLINI MET and began their relationship when he was a union activist. At the onset of the First World War Mussolini made an abrupt shift from pacifist socialism to military nationalism in a bid to gain power through fascism. Soon after, Dalser sold her business, apartment and jewelry to finance his new newspaper and political career, and they had a child. He joined the army, was wounded, and we discover he has another wife and child. Mussolini discarded Ida and their son, yet she remained obsessed with him, even after he orchestrated their confinement under house arrest and later in asylums, as well as the destruction of all records of his first marriage and paternity.

    IN THIS COUNTRY, our impression of Benito Mussolini stems from the end of World War II - a bald, overweight, pompous demagogue, "Il Duce," standing in Hitler's shadow. But in Marco Bellocchio's Vincere, at a point in time thirty years earlier we meet a young, virile, handsome Mussolini, whose fiery charisma attracts and seduces women, and ultimately, the Italian people. Filippo Timi does an excellent job as young Mussolini in the first half of the film, then exits the screen as Mussolini is aged and fattened (conveyed via archival footage) and he returns at the end as Mussolini's son, Benitino.

    Marco Bellochio and Giovanna Mezzogiorno GIOVANNA MEZZOGIORNO has perhaps the lowest American profile of Europe's currently reigning actress triumvirate, including Marion Cotillard and Juliette Binoche, and in her brief career the 36-year-old actress has thirteen wins and nine additional nominations from major festivals and academies. In Vincere you'll see why she is so highly regarded — the film focuses on Ida Dalser and Mezzogiorno is superb in the role, combining passion and despair with resolve and dignity.

    DIRECTOR MARCO BELLOCHIO, virtually unknown in the U.S., is a master Italian filmmaker with almost fifty years directorial experience. In Vincere, he uses newsreel and archival footage to recreate an aging Mussolini and the powerful historical images of the times, adding operatic elements for captivating emphasis. Well-directed and well-acted, with sumptiously composed shots, beautiful music, sets, costumes and locations in Trentino and Turin, it is easy to see why this film has been nominated for, and won, so many awards. Vincere was one of several films selected for submission for the Best Foreign Film Oscar at the recent U.S. Academy Awards. It is now up for fifteen Donatellos (the Italian "Oscars"), to be decided next month.

    PRESENTED ON A GRAND SCALE, the heartbreaking Vincere is a riveting story, made more so because it is based on a true events. Although the record of Mussolini and Dalser's marriage has not been recovered, their relationship, and her involuntary confinement are public record. The film is based on the books Mussolini's Marriage, by Marco Zeni, and Mussolini's Secret Child, by Alfredo Pieroni, as well as on the 2005 documentary film Mussolini's Secret, by Fabrizio Laurenti and Gianfranco Norelli.

    EQUALLY IMPORTANT, as Todd Gilchrist shares in his Cinematical review, "Bellocchio manages to shuttle the viewer through this unexpectedly rich and complicated series of emotional states as the character's situation worsens, and most amazingly never at the expense of our identification with her. ... the film prizes emotional authenticity over historical accuracy ... that we can feel and share in that longing, that desperation, that determination-on-the-brink-of-insanity, is in and of itself a victory, both for her and the film."

    More about Vincere

    Awards, Nominations and Festival Screenings. Since its release on the festival circuit, Vincere has won twenty-three awards out of thirty-eight nominations, including eight Donatellos - the Italian Oscars. A full list of nominations, awards and festival screenings is here.

    Links to informative reviews are here.

    Excerpts of actual letters written by Ida Dalser and Benito Mussolini are in the panel below.

    An interview with director Marco Bellochio is in the panel below.

    Vincere received a Rotten Tomatoes Fresh Rating of 100%, here.

    More information about Giovanna Mezzogiorno is here and here.

    An interview with Giovanna, in English and Italian, is here.

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    In this panel: Post-Film Discussion Leaders, About the Carnegie Arts Center, Vincere Cast & Crew.

    Post-Film Discussion Leaders

    Sante Matteo, Martha Viehmann & Maria Romagnoli

    Our three discussion leaders collectively possess almost 100 years professional experience. They offer their students not just language and communication arts, but enthusiastically share important insights into the history, great thinkers and cultures of Italy and the world. To our particular benefit, they are all interested in cinema, as a learning tool and as an art form. CWC is honored by their presence and we urge you to participate in the post-film discussion.

    Dr. Sante Matteo Sante Matteo

    Wednesday & Thursday

    Born, and spending his first ten years, in Italy, it seems natural that Sante Matteo would have an interest in world languages and cultures. His early collegiate education had a Gallic focus, as he received his BA and MA in French from Kenyon College and Miami University of Ohio, respectively. Later, he spent time on the East Coast where he received his MA and PhD in Italian, both at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

    Currently professor of Italian and Coordinator of Italian Studies in the Department of French and Italian at Miami University of Ohio, for more than three decades Dr. Matteo has been the consummate educator - transcending his classroom instruction responsibilities to travel the U.S. and the world conducting research, presenting papers and serving on panels (141) while organizing and/or chairing many more (72); publishing articles (20), reviews (13) and writing books (6) and contributing chapters/content to collaborative works (18); and hosting international conferences (4).

    If Sante were a baseball player, his qualitative accomplishments and stats would be comparable to those of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays or Stan Musial. And there's more... Dr. Matteo is frequently interviewed by the U.S. and foreign press (print, web and broadcast); has held editorial, board and officer positions with numerous national organizations and publications; and has been recognized via receipt of roughly two dozen awards, distinguished selections and grants, including outstanding professor of the year at Miami (multiple times) and a Fullbright.

    But, in an endeavor not shown in his voluminous CV, his zeal for sharing knowledge comes back to roost with his students: For many years now, Sante has run Miami University's Italian Cinema Series - researching, sourcing, previewing, presenting and discussing Italian history, popular culture and filmmaking via classical Italian film and American television programs that portray Italians and Italian Americans.

    The dedication and stamina required in mounting a weekly film series each semester, year after year, is immense and Dr. Matteo's efforts have influenced so many in their appreciation of cinema and the cultures it portrays.   Read more about Dr. Matteo.

    Martha Viehmann Martha Viehmann

    With a PhD from Yale and AB from Dartmouth and educational focus on Literature and Culture, American Studies and writing, Martha Viehmann has taught at the college level at NKU, Xavier, University of Colorado and University of Denver.

    Throughout her career she has helped students find their way in a variety of courses - English, American Studies, science and literature, history of the U.S. West. About a decade ago while at the University of Denver, she began to include films in her classes and so began to learn more about how movies make meaning.

    Her Scholarly interests include Native American and First Nations literature, the intersection of Native people and popular culture (such as the 1893 Chicago World's Fair aka The World's Columbian Exposition). Martha is a film buff, watching mainstream movies with her two sons and husband, while exploring independent films on her own.

    Maria Romagnoli Maria Romagnoli

    Born in Italy and educated both in her native country and in the U.S., Maria Romagnoli holds graduate degrees from the University of Florence in Modern European History and from Harvard University where she studied Romance Languages and Comparative Literature. Her early Italian language and literature teaching assignments in the 1980s included three years with the University of Connecticut's study abroad program in Florence Italy and two years with Harvard University.

    A Cincinnati resident since 1987, Dr. Romagnoli taught Italian and French language courses at the University of Cincinnati in the Romance Languages Department. In 1993 she joined the UC Department of English and Comparative Literature where she teaches courses in nineteenth and twentieth century European Literature as well as World Literature. Her scholarly interests range from the medieval period to Italian and comparative literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. Maria also relishes the opportunity to introduce to her students Dante's and Boccaccio's masterpieces.

    Active in the teaching profession, she has presented at conferences, served on panels, published and translated, and taught Italian in the community. Maria most enjoys interacting with her students in the classroom, where she uses a variety of media, including cinema, to broaden the discussion of cultural, postcolonial and women's studies.

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    About the Carnegie

    The Otto M. Budig Theatre in the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center transports the audience to the ornate elegance of the early 1900s. Restored in 2006, improvements include comfortable seating with additional leg room, large movie screen and updated sound system. While the theatre holds 465 patrons we have limited the capacity to 350 seats on the main floor and center balcony -- to insure the best sight lines and audience experience.

    And YES, there is POPCORN !!

    COME EARLY to socialize before selected screenings and enjoy your favorite spirits or non-alcoholic beverage. The Carnegie opens at 6:30 before evening screenings and the cash bar is in the adjacent Gallery/reception space. The Carnegie is located at 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington KY 41011(corner of Scott and Robbins, between 10th and 11th Streets). FREE PARKING on-site and in nearby lots -- click here for the Parking Map.


    Ida Dalser..............................GIOVANNA MEZZOGIORNO
    Benito Mussolini.....................FILIPPO TIMI
    Benito Albino (young man)......FILIPPO TIMI
    Riccardo Paicher.....................FAUSTO RUSSO ALESI
    Rachele Mussolini...................MICHELA CESCON
    Pietro Fedele..........................PIER GIORGIO BELLOCCHIO
    Doctor Cappelletti..................CORRADO INVERNIZZI
    Giulio Bernardi.......................PAOLO PIEROBON
    The Judge.............................BRUNO CARIELLO
    Adelina.................................FRANCESCA PICOZZA
    Mother Superior....................SIMONA NOBILI
    Merciful nun...........................VANESSA SCALERA
    The German..........................GIOVANNA MORI
    The Singer.............................PATRIZIA BETTINI
    Red shoes.............................SILVIA FERRETTI
    Tears....................................CORINNE CASTELLI
    Benito Albino (young child).....FABRIZIO COSTELLA


    Director................................MARCO BELLOCCHIO
    Story idea.............................MARCO BELLOCCHIO
    Screenplay............................MARCO BELLOCCHIO
                                                & DANIELA CESELLI
    Photography.........................DANIELE CIPRI
    Music....................................CARLO CRIVELLI
    Editor...................................FRANCESCA CALVELLI
    Production designer...............MARCO DENTICI
    Costumes.............................SERGIO BALLO
    Sound engineer.....................GAETANO CARITO
    Producer...............................MARIO GIANANI
    Co-producers........................HENGAMEH PANAHI
                                                & CHRISTIAN BAUTE
    Executive Producer................OLIVIA SLEITER
    Production............................OFFSIDE, RAI CINEMA
    In co-production with.............CELLULOID DREAMS
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    In this panel: Marco Bellochio on Vincere, The Letters of Ida Dalser and Benito Mussolini

    Marco Bellocchio on Vinecere

    How did you first discover the story of Ida Dalser?

    I wasn't aware of the story until I learned about it from a documentary I saw on TV a few years ago: "Il Segreto di Mussolini" (Mussolini's Secret) by Fabrizio Laurenti and Gianfranco Norelli. I immediately got the impression that Ida Dalser, who had a child with Mussolini, was an extraordinary woman. A woman who refused to remain quiet about the truth, right to the bitter end, despite the fact that the regime made every attempt to destroy all traces of it. Mussolini's wife and son were a scandal that had to be kept hidden, to the point of erasing their very existence, and not only physically. In fact, they were both locked away in lunatic asylums till the end of their days.

    But if you go to the place where Ida Dalser grew up, in Trentino, it is amazing how clearly people still clearly remember this tragedy which was left out of the official version of history. Luckily, there have been two books published full of documents and witness statements : Mussolini's Wife by Marco Zeni and The Duce's Secret Son by Alfredo Pieroni. This material includes, for example, the huge number of letters that Ida Dalser wrote to the highest authorities, including the Pope (and, naturally, Mussolini himself), begging to be recognized as Mussolini's lawfully wedded wife and the mother of his first born son. There are also some of the Duce's replies.

    What, in particular, drew you to this story: the chance to raise the curtain on history or the story of the people involved?

    I wasn't interested in highlighting and exposing the vileness of the Fascist regime. However, I was greatly struck by this woman and her absolute refusal to accept any kind of compromise. After all, she could have easily agreed to go back into the shadows and perhaps, may have been generously rewarded, which happened with so many other mistresses of Mussolini's. But she wouldn't accept that. She wanted to lay claim to an identity of her own. She couldn't bring herself to accept the betrayal of this man, one whom, as she wrote in her letters, she had loved deeply and to whom she had given everything including all her assets. But once he became the Duce, Mussolini had to put an end to that old love story, not least to avoid jeopardizing his relationship with the Church because the regime was working towards signing the Lateran Pacts in 1929. Indeed, so successful was this political move that the Pope subsequently referred to him as "a godsend". Both mother and child were to disappear along with the papers recording the marriage and the birth of the son whose name would be changed. They were to no longer exist.

    What's your impression of Ida Dalser?

    She was not one to make a choice based on mediocrity: at heart, she shared the political ideas of the young Mussolini, a certain kind of heroic stance that was interventionist, anti-union, individualistic and futuristic. She fell head over heels in love with that young man when he was still a nobody. She loved him when no one else did. She defended him when he was flat broke, attacked and insulted... Later, the relationship was reversed: when everyone loved the Duce, she was left out and everyone turned against her. Motivated by this reckless love, incapable of realizing who had the upper hand, she went against the whole of Italy, which was then embracing Fascist doctrine and siding with Mussolini. The behavior of Ida Dalser, with her courage in standing up to the Duce and her refusal to give in - a rebel to the end - reminds me of certain tragic heroines, Antigone, comes to mind but also the heroines you find in Italian melodramas like Aida, for example. And in this sense, the film is also a melodrama about the invincibility of one little Italian woman who would not be reduced by any power and, in a way, it is actually she who wins.

    Why was Ida Dalser a danger for Mussolini?

    There was a certain point where Ida would never see Mussolini again in person. She would only see him at the cinema, in the newsreels, amazed at the image of this man who loomed so large on the screen like an actor, a star. And through her expressions, we follow the transformation of this man. As soon as he stepped into the media spotlight, he became another person in her eyes. From Mussolini to Duce. She was unwittingly witnessing a change in the world of politics that was to last for ever. Mussolini was the first to establish a regime based on images and from that point on, politics entered the world of images and people's imagination. A point of no return in history. Today, some of his posturing seems ridiculous, almost clownish, but adopting this style allowed him to conquer the masses. His precious image could not be put at risk. And so it was to be this very man, so loved by the media who would hound Ida Dalser, since she could have pressed charges against him, caused a public scandal and objectively jeopardized his image.

    Did you use the archive footage to add a greater sense of truth or was it a question of style?

    Undoubtedly, a question of style, but also for practical reasons. We couldn't reproduce everything. We had to blend the archive material with our footage to create a particular style; starting from the images of the young Mussolini, played by an actor, to authentic images of the dictator, suggesting the historical process. From 1922 onwards, the actor disappears, and on the screen, only the real Mussolini is seen. We used archive material of the real Mussolini from the moment in the story when he abandons her, he only reappears on film or newsreel footage, only as an image. Ida can never find him or have him again, so from that point she sees him as everyone else saw him - as a public image. I made that deliberate choice.

    The Letters
    From The Duce's Secret Son by Alfredo Pieroni, Milan, Garzanti, 2006

    Ida Dalser and son Benito Benito Mussolini writes to Ida Dalser

    My little Ida. I have just arrived after twelve endless hours on a train that left me completely covered in soot. I washed it off as best as I could and my first thought, even before going to dinner, is you. Are you pleased? Will you say, once again, that you alone love me, while I don't love you? I love you too, my dear Ida, even though I haven't been able to prove it to you. During my journey, I thought of you a lot. Every time young married couples or sweethearts came into my compartment, I thought about our trip, the trip we have planned. How happy I would have been to have you with me, today, while the train was racing along under a cloudless sky, through a countryside displaying all of autumn's melancholic seduction, towards this beautiful Rome which appeared before me just as the sunset was setting ablaze the horizon of the seven hills of the Eternal City.

    This evening, we would have been together, whereas... Tomorrow, I'll send you some picture postcards. I'll certainly be in Milan on Tuesday or Wednesday evening. Be good, my little friend and think of me often. I embrace you with all the passion of our moments of intimacy and love. I remain your wild friend and lover. Benito.

    Ida Dalser writes to Benito Mussolini

    What I'm asking you for amounts to very little: my son and an immediate release from this truly putrid lunatic asylum, from this hospital for tuberculosis patients, where you have no right to bury me, my possessions, my furniture and all the personalized furnishings from my apartment in Milan which are to be handed down to my son... Stop having your son's mother insulted, at least to appease your conscience, and the gloomy phantom that will come to visit you each night.

    Benito, listen to my heart-felt cry, we loved each other, we adored each other passionately, we had a child together, and because of you, I'm struggling in a world full of woes, you've killed off my lovely, healthy youthfulness.

    Lastly, references to her alleged mental illness: Don't you dare pretend! You know full well that my mental faculties are functioning perfectly just as they always did... My God, how right they were when they told me to leave you, as they suspected everything about you. But you managed to silence me with your explanations. You've suffered, I know, you've cried, but then you've come up with some new subterfuge you mustn't build your will to fight on lies, not all men are stupid and who knows whether one day, you yourself will end up more distraught than your victims. May Heaven save you from the shameful bartering that we two innocents have been subjected to. Oh, to die without being able to embrace my son once again. Believe me, Duce, you're just a poor wretch.

    Ida Dalser writes to the Prefect of Trento

    Gr. Uff. Piomarta Prefect of Trento
    Your Excellency,
    With this letter, may my desperate cry reach you. One can kill a woman, but not insult her beyond a certain limit. Nero and Caligula would never have dared to take their cynicism so far. For four years, Dr. Baroni and his colleagues have been making fun of me: I cannot even envisage dragging on through such a miserable existence without one single ray of sunshine. From what these scoundrels are saying, it would appear that the Mussolini brothers have sold me off for good, and that they themselves are responsible for all the suffering inflicted on me.

    The situation is so complicated that it requires an intervention on the part of Your Excellency to whom I have already written six letters to no avail. I have been gagged, drugged, beaten on the teeth, chained up in an airless cell, never being allowed out and injected with poison in my left arm to subjugate me to their will. I am a poor dead woman lying in her shroud under a heavy stone, waiting for my grave to open so that I may embrace, once more, the blessed, divine creature whom I adore. Come, come soon, immediately. Anyone who does not know maternal suffering does not know what pain is! Ah! Where is my ill-fated creature buried? Has he, perhaps, disappeared from this world following atrocious forms of torture? And does that man not feel he is a father? I can die but not him, my son did not ask to be brought into this world and no one can or must make him suffer the same ordeal as his unfortunate mother. And does he not understand that we represent the political and moral force of those who will drag him into the abyss?

    Ida Dalser writes to the Pope

    The man I adored, defended, took care of when he was ill, followed like a shadow to rallies and demonstrations, when he was violently attacked in the squares in Milan and by Giolitti's guards; praying and begging for an end to the duels, giving him an adorable son who looks exactly like him. Why did I do all this? Certainly not for his wealth! If he had been engulfed in flames or under a hail of bullets, I would have rushed to his aid. At that time, he was not an unjust man, but a real angel an abandoned genius, I took him into my home against everybody's advice, I adored him, he adored me, he promised to make me the most envied of women. I asked him nothing more than to make me the most loved...

    Ida Dalser writes to Albertini, Editor of Corriere della sera

    For the son of Benito Mussolini editor and owner of Il Popolo d'Italia. Reduced to abject poverty after having been exploited and then abandoned by my son's father Benito Mussolini, editor and owner of Il Popolo d'Italia, I am appealing to the generosity of the newspaper, Corriere della Sera, so that it will launch an appeal to collect funds for Mussolini's son, since I can no longer provide for the son of the man who exploited me and the coward who has left me in dire straits along with my child, when all the while, he is rolling in money together with his famous "henchmen" and administrators Clerici and Morgagni.
    The mother of little Benitino Mussolini.