If old rockers never die, Marco Bellocchio is one of them. He maintains a splendid memory, which helps him to analyze his life and career in a kind but sharp way. Bellocchio (Piacenza, 81 years old) has been a star at the Cannes festival for three days: if he gave a master class on Thursday, the documentary was screened today Friday Marx can wait (Marx puede esperar), about the death of his twin brother, Camillo, at age 29. Tomorrow, Saturday, he will receive a Palme d’Or of Honor during the closing ceremony from Paolo Sorrentino, “I would live my same life again. I do not have to regret not having done what I should for lack of courage, “he told the public and the press in his talk. Of course, his filmography agrees with him.
For Thierry Frémaux, general delegate of the Cannes festival, Bellocchio is “a cinematographic giant, and to whom we had the duty to correct the error that he never won La Palma”. He has touched on very diverse subjects throughout his half-century career, with works such as China is near (1967), special prize of the jury in Venice; In the name of the Father (1971), criticism against religion; Leap into the void (1980), with which Michel Piccoli and Anouk Aimée won the awards for the best male and female performance at Cannes; Good morning night (2003), on the murder of Aldo Moro; To win (2009), the story of Mussolini’s mistress, or The traitor (2019), which went through Cannes and was the best Italian film of that season with its portrait of Tommaso Buscetta, the most famous repentant of the mafia. And he is still active: to be on La Croisette he has interrupted the filming of his new television series, Outside night, and he has his new feature film in pre-production, The conversion.
On The traitor, Bellocchio explained: “I didn’t know anything about the mafia. I got into something that was alien to me. When I was young I needed to limit myself to what I knew, but as you grow older and mature, you can turn your gaze to topics that do not belong directly to you. That’s why you think The traitor is a mature work that underscores his passion for politics — played tangentially in that thriller—, although he does not feel within any party. “Politics for me was something very important, but I was not a member of any force. I was close to the leftist movements at the end of the sixties, and at the beginning of the seventies the revolutionary flame was going out ”. And he continued: “Three paths were taken: the revolutionary who becomes bourgeois and becomes a man of power, the terrorist who chooses armed action and the one who says: ‘Who am I, I’m not satisfied with myself, I must change.’ For many intellectuals, the most common path was psychoanalysis, “he added. And that was his path.
If in the master class he analyzed his work, in a subsequent talk with journalists he focused on Marx can wait. “I feel liberated, although not absolved, from the tragedy of my brother Camillo,” he said. After a family celebration, the filmmaker realized that “one of the most vital brothers”, Camillo, was missing. So at the next meeting, a birthday on December 16, 2016, he began recording his large family. “I was aware that this could be the last chance I would have to face this story.” True, some of its members have since passed away. “Curiously, I discovered that I could tell the story through fragments of my films, that Camillo exists with other names in my films, and that my life was interrelated with my cinema.” Also, that this was the best legacy he could leave to the next generation of the Bellocchio. “I don’t believe in the afterlife, I’m interested in the more here. And that tragedy has been a source of pain in my life. He had to tell it, and he had to appear on the screen to explain and enrich the trip ”.
A devastated brother
Bellocchio has not been, however, able to answer a question, for him, capital: “Why didn’t I realize what Camillo was suffering? This doubt has plagued me all my life ”. On the screen we see that very large family, of the upper bourgeoisie, remembering World War II, their disappointment when the monarchy lost the referendum on the system of Government in Italy in 1948, the terror that the priests introduced in their minds about the arrival of the communism, and the death of his father, Francesco, from cancer in 1956, which devastated Camillo, his favorite.
“I feel liberated, although not absolved, from the tragedy of my brother Camillo
The twin also felt inferior to his brothers: Marco was a filmmaker; Alberto, a trade unionist, and Piergiorgio, the oldest, a literary critic. “He did not find his space in a house that was like a madhouse,” recalls the director. “He never made radical decisions, overwhelmed by the fight for the survival of the rest of the family.” Several of the Bellocchios mention: “The most rude and savage jokes that Camillo promoted among his group of friends, in reality, they did a lot of damage to himself.”
In 1964, Camillo sent Marco a letter from military service — he was the only brother to do so, and everyone points out that he signed up to slow down his incorporation into adult life. I was looking for advice and help on what to do in life. The filmmaker does not remember the letter, much less if he answered it (although there is a photocopy of it). His vital doubts, his internal fights grew until his suffering ended with his suicide in 1968. The title comes from a phrase pronounced by Camillo himself: “He said with a laugh that politics could wait, that personal problems had to be solved before.”