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Judge, Jury and Executioner
by Scott Tunstall

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True Believer?

True Believer?
In 1978, Aldo Moro - leader of the Italian Christian Democratic Party - was kidnapped and later assassinated by a militant Communist faction called the Red Brigades. Moro was a staunch supporter of the Compromesso storico or Historic Compromise, which was supposed to unite the Christian Democrats and the Communist Party. Moro believed in a unified Italy, a country together, rather than one divided by political or socioeconomic differences. He fought tirelessly to make his vision a reality, but his tragic death put an end to his idea. GOOD MORNING, NIGHT documents the last days of Moro, from the point of view of the lone female kidnapper.

Four members of the Red Brigades kidnap Moro and hold him captive in a cramped apartment for 55 days. Chiara, a young, impressionable woman, and three men take up residence to keep watch on the political prisoner.

While Mariano - the Brigades leader - conducts detailed interrogations with Moro, Chiara goes to her job as a librarian, where she befriends a radical screenwriter named Enzo, who doesn't share Chiara's Communist beliefs.

When she returns to the apartment, Chiara spends her time peering through the peephole in Moro's cell. Her fascination with the larger-than-life figure conflicts with her political ideology. The longer she watches the crestfallen man the more sympathy she gains for him. Despite knowing his inevitable fate, Chiara begins to question her comrades if killing the statesman is the right action to take. Her reservations, of course, are ignored, but Chiara's dreams tell a different story. A story that ends with Moro's freedom.

Director Marco Bellocchio does an excellent job of maintaining suspense, even though the audience is aware  of the outcome.
Happier times.

Happier times.
By embedding the narrative inside the life of Chiara, he is able to reveal her complex psyche as well as her vivid dreams. We are shown Moro through her naive, curious gaze. She is too young to fully comprehend her actions nor the political motives that precipitated them. Unlike her Brigade brethren, she sees Moro as a man, not just a figure-head or symbol. The tears Chiara cries over Moro's final letter of appeal are not tears of happiness, but rather tears of sympathy and regret. As much as she'd like to change Moro's fate, she lacks the courage and conviction to martyr herself.

Several techniques are employed to heighten the drama. Pink Floyd's masterful "The Great Gig in the Sky" provides a foreboding, eerie aura to the inevitable events depicted. The ethereal song also enhances Chiara's intricate reveries. Also significant to the narrative 
Last words.

Last words.
is the omnipresent  television which constantly blares in the background; it acts as an unofficial narrator by providing periodic updates to the story's timeline. There are very few moments in the film when it fails to be heard.

Performance wise, the film belongs to Roberto Herlitzka as Moro, and Maya Sansa as Chiara. Herlitzka - who bears a striking resemblance to the real Moro - brings an admirable toughness to the character. Although visibly frustrated, he never loses composure, and keeps hold of his dignity and honor. Sansa is asked to carry the film and she succeeds. Her soft inner emotions betray a cold, indifferent exterior. She carries respect and feels compassion for Moro, which makes her performance that much more compelling. GOOD MORNING, NIGHT is another fantastic film that eluded American viewers a few years back. Do yourself a service and see this fine docudrama.

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Eye On The Overlooked
Every other Sunday

A lot of great movies slip through the cracks. I'm here to catch them.

Other Columns
Other columns by Scott Tunstall:

High School Can Be Murder

A Wolf In Girl's Clothing

Southern Hospitality

Ten Great Films From the 2000s

Down With The System

All Columns

Scott Tunstall
Scott is a freelance writer currently living in the Southeast. He is a film school grad with a love of theory and screenwriting. His tastes vary from obscure niche films to giant Hollywood blockbusters. In other words, he'll watch pretty much anything.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Scott Tunstall by clicking here.

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