with Robert DeNiro, Gerard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Stefania Sandrelli, Laura Betti, Donald Sutherland, Burt Lancaster, and Sterling Hayden.
Both born on the day of Verdi’s death at the beginning of the 20th Century, the characters that as adults are played by DeNiro (Alfredo) and Depardieu (Olmo), grow up side by side as friends, and during fascism as class enemies, in this epic depiction of the class struggles in Italy leading up to the Eurocommunist moment in 1975, focused primarily on the rise of fascism and the fight that led to end the dictates of the Italian right with Alfredo accommodating the fascists at his estate, while Olmo organizes and takes part in the broad struggles including the armed resistance.
There are few films like 1900. “…told with an unyielding Marxist fervor, 1900 overflows with an abundant love of life in all its beauty and pain, sensuality and despair.” —The Los Angeles Times
“1900 explores a vibrant familial identity existing between a group of socialist farmers, the landowners they work for, and fascist factions penetrating rural Parma, Italy. Its half-century scope provides a raw macro/micro slant on psychological, generational, political, and cultural changes in the region of Bertolucci’s birth. Compared with the contained, at times claustrophobic, expressionist style of Last Tango, 1900 is a 180-degree turn into a wide open direction. For his thirteenth film Bertolucci wanted to express what he saw as Italy’s “multi-culture” society becoming a “mono-culture,” due to the influence of the industrial revolution, and capitalism more precisely. The thick-layered chronicle doesn’t sweep across time so much as it escorts the audience through indelible composite events that bristle with personal, social, and political characteristics….Since [when it was made] 1900 has come to stand as an organic cinematic journey through chapters of a rich apocryphal history that evinces an ongoing struggle between the world’s rich elite and everyone else.”—Cole Smithey