Toth Database - Cinema

Novecento Film


Novecento film of 1976 directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, was presented out of competition at the 29th Cannes Film Festival. 




The film tells the story of two Italians born both on January 27, 1900 in the same place (an Emilian farm), but on opposite sides: Alfredo is the son of rich owners, the Berlinghieri, Olmo is the son of Rosina, a farmer, of the same company. In one scene, Giovanni, Alfredo's father, speaks affectionate words towards Elmo, gently inviting him to return home, it may suggest that Alfredo is Elmo's half-brother. The peasant struggles and the Great War first, and fascism with the partisan struggle for liberation then, are at the center of the events that follow one another, with in the center, and for the common thread, the life of the two enemies – friends, played in adulthood by Gèrad Depardieu (Elmo) and Robert De Niro (Alfredo). Burt Lancaster, as Alfredo's grandfather, and Donald Sutherland in the violent, cynical and ruthless role Attila, called with his ferocity enslaved to power and representing the devastating arrival of fascism in a country where the wealthy bourgeoisie began to fear the various socialist organizations in defense of the workers, are some of the other unforgettable faces of this film. The last part of the film is related to the initial scenes, when, during the longed-for Liberation Day, Attila is finally executed in the cemetery, in front of the graves of his victims, and Alfredo is taken hostage by a young boy armed with a rifle received by the partisans. Elmo, believed dead, reappears and stages a summary trial of the Master Alfredo Berlinghieri. The bond of friendship prevails and Elmo " condemns" Alfredo to a virtual death (actually subtracting him from the lynching), initially little understood by the other villagers, but in the end chorally accepted with an unbridled and liberating race in the fields, under the huge red flag grown and kept hidden during the twenty years. With trucks, representatives of the National Liberation Committee, responsible for disarming the partisans, arrived. Elm himself agrees first to lay down his rifle after firing into the air to symbolize the execution of the vile and evil part of his closest friend. Alfredo and Olmo start joking again, squealing like children. The film closes on two friends who, now elderly, continue to fight in the places of childhood, with Elmo continuing, as he did as a child, to hear the voice of his father (never known) in a telegraph pole and Alfredo who goliardically kills himself as if he were a child spread out for fun and imitating the reckless Elmo on the sleepers of the oncoming train tracks. 




In Italian cinemas the film was screened, with great success, in two successive phases (Novecento Atto I and Novecento Attto II).


In the United States, only one film had to be proposed reduced to four hours (however too many for American cinemas), but this film was unsuccessful.




The film was shot in the Province of Parma, the Province of Cremona, the Province of Reggio Emilia and the Province of Montava. The farm where the film took place is the farm "Corte della Piacentine" located in Roncole Verdi, a hamlet of Busseto. The places are those of Giovanni Guareschi and Giuseppe Verdi. In fact, the first is buried in Roncole Verdi, while the second was born in Roncole Verdi as the name of the hamlet recalls. Many scenes were also shot in Rivarolo del Re e Uniti (CR), Guastalla (RE), and san Giovanni in Croce (CR). In Mantua the troupe shot some scenes at the sanctuary of The Graces of Curtatone and in the villa of San Prospero di Suzzara while in the old cimenitero of Poggio Rusco was filmed the execution of the fascist Attila. Scenes from the film were also filmed in the Palazzo Canossa and in the square of the historic center of Mantua. The scene of the train passing by the sea was filmed in the tunnels of Cinque Terre, near Rio Maggiore, in the Province of La Spezia.


On the set of the film the director Gianni Amelio toured the documentary Bernardo Bertolucci according to the cinema. Bertolucci says that during the filming the crew of his film challenged several times in hearty football matches the crew of the film Salò and the 12 days of Sodom that Pier Paolo Pasolini was shooting right nearby. The filming of the film Novecento lasted about two years, a curiosity of the film is that it merges the titles of the film with the painting by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo "Quarto Stato".


Language: Emiliano, English

Country of production: Italy, France, Germany

Year: 1976

Duration: 320 min

Genre: Dramatic, Historical

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Producer: Alberto Grimaldi

Production company : European production

Photograph: Vittorio Storano

Editing by Franco Arcalli

Music: Ennio Morricone

Set design: Maria Paola, Maino Gianni Quaranta, Ezio Frigerio

Costume design: Gitt Magrini




Performers and characters


Robert de Niro as Alfredo Berlinghieri as Adult

Gèrard de Depardiu as Olmo Dalcò as An Adult

Burt Lancaster as Grandfather Alfredo Berlinghieri

Donald Sutherland as Attila Melanchini

Dominique Sanda as Ada Fiastri Paulhan

Alida Valli as Ida Cantarelli Pioppi

Sterling Hayden as Leo Dalcò

Stefania Sandrelli as Anita Furlan

Laura Betti as Regina

Romolo Valli as Giovanni Berlinghieri

Stefania Casini as Neve

Francesca Bertini as Sister Desolate

Paulo Branco as Bear

Giacomo Rizzo as Rigoleto, the Servant Hunchback

Liù Bosisio: In the Dalcò

Mario Monti as Rosina Dalcò

José Quaglio: Avanzini, an owner

Patrizia De Clara as Stella

Fabio Garriba as Farmer at the execution of Attila

Carlotta Barilli as Contadina

Allen Midgette: Tramp exonerates Elm

Mimmo Poli: Fascist at the church meeting

Clara Colosimo: Woman accusing Olmo

Angelo Pellegrino as Sarto


Piero Vida: Fascist of the Attila gang






Ferruccio Amendola as Alfredo Berlinghieri adult

Claudio Volonte as Olmo Dalcò as an Adult

Giuseppe Rinaldi as Grandfather Alfredo Berlinghieri

Antonio Guidi as Attila Melanchini

Rita Savagnone as Ada Fiastri Paulhan

Renato Mori as Leo Dalcò

Riccardo Cucciolla as Ottavio Berlinghieri

Pailla Pavese as Amelia

Rossella Izzo as Anita Dalcò, daughter of Olmo