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Italy, 1973 (MIFF 1974)

Director: Marco Leto

Marco Leto's Black Holiday is set in an island detention centre for Italian political dissidents. During the early years of Mussolini's dictatorship, anti-Fascists are sent to the island to be reformed. The regime applies pressure to a cultured political opponent to change his thinking and restore him to his professorship as an inoffensive citizen. Slowly, a relationship develops between the island's governor, played by Adolfo Celi, and the prisoner, played by Adalberto Merli. It gradually becomes clear to Merli that he must resist the temptation of an apparently civilized fascism of compromise and persuasion.

The murder of a Communist prisoner convinces him that he must abandon his family and privileges on the island, and escape to join anti-Fascist groups on the mainland.

'A deceptively simple but intellectually devastating study of liberalism in the early days of Italian fascism. Its coldly analytical dissection of class and the meaning of socialism as seen through the ‘holiday' of a rich socialist professor on an island prison, is political cinema at its most effective.'

Ken Wlaschin, Films and Filming

'Slowly, subtly, against a background of grey skies and chilly beaches, La Villeggiatura brings its leading character to the point where a line must finally be drawn against the temptation of fascism in a white shirt.'

Penelope Houston, Sight and Sound

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