With Luigi lo Cascio, Valerio Binasco, Francesca Inaudi.
Italy, 2010, 35mm, color, 170 min.
Italian/French/English/Polish with English subtitles.
Filmmaker Mario Martone initially seems beholden to a standard Italian cinema tradition: a literary adaptation of a classic novel (of the same title, by Anna Banti) concerning a patriotic moment in history (Il Risorgimento, or Italy's unification) that was famously addressed in the work of a past auteur (Visconti's Senso). We Believed is no work of reassuring nostalgia, however, but a confrontational rejection of melodrama and sentiment. He presents a web of actors, perspectives and actions within high-definition video and a deliberate aesthetic formlessness. Acknowledging the ongoing debates and tensions that have shaped so much of the country’s history, he deconstructs the idea of history as having a romantic and noble arc, and instead rallies the intricate, fragmented complexities of true history as a basis for an avant-garde narrative immersion of sprawling scope and ambition.