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1900 is one of Bernardo Bertolucci's adventures in epic filmmaking that never found the reception he had hoped for. Originally more than six hours long, it was chopped down to four hours for its U.S. release and as a result looked, well, choppy. Eventually, he restored it to five hours--but one wonders at all the effort on behalf of this alternately muddled and stunning story. The film, with a decidedly socialist agenda, examines two lives that begin the same year in rural Italy: the weak-willed son of the aristocracy (Robert De Niro) and the hardy, courageous son of peasants (Gerard Depardieu). They grow up as best friends on the...