DVD Review: I VINTI (THE VANQUISHED)
I Vinti was made as a commentary on the postwar generation. There was, and still is, the idea that children growing up in Europe and the UK during the WW2 had known nothing but violence throughout their lives, and thus became desensitized. The film began as a project designed to highlight the problem of juvenile delinquency in Europe. It was partially financed by a pro-Catholic Italian film agency, and could have been very stilted and exaggerated, luckily Antonioni is a better filmmaker than that.
The film has three chapters, one each based in France, Italy, and England, each based on a true story. Each story is a cautionary tale, and the protagonists in each story are clearly sociopaths with no emotional connection to the surrounding world. It seems like this is the message the film was trying to convey, that the youth committing these crimes were at best naive and ill-prepared to face the real world and at worst they were truly evil.
The youths kill for various reasons. In the French episode, it is for money; in the Italian episode as contained in the revised version of the film, it is out of desperation; and in the English episode, well, it is for fame. None of these reasons is justified, obviously, and the perpetrators are never really sympathetic characters, but the film is still very involving and interesting.
In the annals of the juvenile delinquent drama, I Vinti doesn't nearly match up to something like Rebel Without a Cause, but they were made with very different intentions. In both films, the youths involved in these crimes are middle to upper-middle class, there is really no desperation inherent in their situation. While I Vinti presents its killers as sociopaths, Rebel presents its protagonists as the victims of their own families who are simply trying to breathe. They play as two films on the opposite sides of an argument, with I Vinti trying to scare us away from our children and Rebel trying to get us to embrace them before it is too late.
That being said, and I had to get it out of my system, I Vinti is a beautifully shot and acted film. Somehow characters always seem more sophisticated when they are speaking another language or in a foreign accent, no matter how barbaric their actions. Hell, I almost found myself sympathizing with a couple of them just because they sounded so lovely, until I realized that they were almost all jerks.
Raro's presentation of I Vinti is pretty darned good. The print still has some noticeable damage and scratches, but it wasn't overwhelming, and I probably only noticed it because I was looking for it. It wouldn't pass Criterion muster, but it looks pretty darned good considering it's past. The audio is similarly good. The film is presented in its original three languages with a Dolby Stereo 2.0 track that is unremarkable, but accurate and clear. There isn't a whole lot of action going on in this film, but the dialogue is clear and easy to understand. Overall the A/V presentation is very good, and well worth the small price on its own, but the extra features on this one really put it over the top as a recommendation.
Raro have ported over most of the extras from the film's 2007 Italian release, and they are awesome. First of all there are two interviews from people involved in the production which are very informative and help to contextualize the film and how it was received when it first played. Also included is Antonioni's contribution to L'amore in citta, "Tentato Suicidio", about young people who'd attempted suicide, complete with explanations and recreations. The real winner of the bonus features is the original full-length version of the Italian episode from I Vinti, which is completely different from the version contained in the full film. This longer version completely changes the character and his motivations, turning him from a cigarette bootlegger to a political anarchist. Slightly different!
Raro has done right by I Vinti, and despite its faults, which are minor, it is still an easy recommendation.
- Michelangelo Antonioni
- Michelangelo Antonioni
- Giorgio Bassani
- Suso Cecchi D'Amico
- Diego Fabbri
- Roger Nimier (French segment)
- Turi Vasile
- Franco Interlenghi
- Anna Maria Ferrero
- Eduardo Ciannelli
- Evi Maltagliati