What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is a surreal film where adults often act like children and vice versa, so there are no discernible characters to uphold regular roles of authority. The only influence given respect is Mussolini's regime. Gunshots, clownish street peddlers, prostitutes, and dysfunctional families are the norm. A teacher smokes pot in front of his students, kids smoke in the bathroom; patrons drink cocktails at a soiree. Kids are given adult motives and desires: a jealous toddler tries to get rid of his newborn brother by dropping a rock onto him while he sleeps in his crib; a pleasure-seeking woman bares her breasts to seduce an ingénue, then promptly abandons him after the deed is done; a young boy suffers the loss of his mother.
- Families can talk about Italian history in the 1930s, the definition of fascism, and the role of government in every day life. How does Mussolini's fascist regime differ from a democracy like that of the U.S.? Families may want to use this opportunity to discuss how the film comments on adolescence and the need for quality role models.