Part of Dirty, Rotten Statesmen - this month on Curzon12.
There is a secret in the life of Mussolini: wife Ida Dalser and son Benito Albino who was born, acknowledged and then denied. It is a dark page in history, one ignored in the official biography of the Duce.
When Ida and Mussolini meet in Milan, he is the editor of Avanti! and an ardent socialist who intends to guide the masses towards an anti-clerical, anti-monarchical, socially emancipated future. Ida truly believes in him and his ideas. In order to finance Il Popolo d'Italia, a newspaper he has founded and the nucleus of the forthcoming Fascist Party, Ida sells everything she has.
When the First World War erupts, Benito Mussolini enrols in the Army and disappears. When Ida finds him again in a military hospital, he is tended to by Rachele whom he has just married. Ida lashes out at her rival furiously, demanding her rights as Mussolini’s true wife and the mother of his first-born son. For more than 11 years, she is locked away in an insane asylum where she is put under physical restraint and tortured, never to see her son again. But Ida won’t give up without a fight.
Nominated for the Palme d'Or, Marco Belloccio’s masterful melodrama features an exhilarating classical score and spectacular visuals.
★★★★ Nigel Andrews, Financial Times
★★★★ Ian Freer, Empire
★★★★ "An operatic slice of historical muckraking" - David Jenkins, Time Out
★★★★ "A tragic, timeless tale about a spirited woman's stubborn devotion to a self-serving man" - Anna Smith, Metro