English-language poster
Directed by Marco Bellocchio
Produced by Mario Gianani
Written by Marco Bellocchio
Daniela Ceselli
Starring Giovanna Mezzogiorno
Filippo Timi
Fausto Russo Alesi
Michela Cescon
Pier Giorgio Bellocchio
Corrado Invernizzi
Music by Carlo Crivelli
Cinematography Daniele Ciprì
Edited by Francesca Calvelli
Distributed by 01 Distribution
IFC Films
Release dates
  • 19 May 2009 (2009-05-19) (Cannes Festival)
  • 20 May 2009 (2009-05-20) (Italy)
  • 25 November 2009 (2009-11-25) (France)
Running time
128 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian
Budget 9 million €
Box office 2,089,000 €

Vincere (in English, 'To Win') is a film that is based on the life of the first wife of Benito Mussolini. It stars Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Ida Dalser and Filippo Timi as Benito Mussolini. It was filmed under the direction of Marco Bellocchio, who also wrote the screenplay with Daniela Ceselli, and it was released 22 May 2009 in Italy. It was the only Italian film in competition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

It won four Silver Hugos at the Chicago International Film Festival (Best Actor (Filippo Timi), Best Actress (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), Best Director and Best Cinematography (Daniele Ciprì).[2] and won four Silver Ribbon (Actress (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), Cinematography, Editing and Art Direction). Giovanna Mezzogiorno was rewarded with the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress 2010.


The movie relates the story of Ida Dalser, who fell in love with the future Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, supported him while he was unemployed in the early 1910s, and married him, presumably around 1914. She bore Mussolini a son, Benito Albino, before the outbreak of World War I. The two lost touch during the war years and, upon discovering him again in a hospital during the war, she also discovered Rachele Guidi, who had married Mussolini in 1915, and a daughter born in 1910 when Guidi and Mussolini were living together.

Historically, following his political ascendency, Mussolini suppressed the information about his first marriage and he (through the Fascist party) persecuted both his first wife and oldest son and committed them forcibly to asylums. Dalser died in an asylum in Venice in 1937 at the age of 57 of brain haemorrhages and Benito Albino died in 1942 at the age of 26 in an asylum near Milan after repeated coma-inducing injections.[3]



The film received universal acclaim from film critics, with rating of 85 from the review aggregate site Metacritic,[4] as well as a 92% "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes with the site's consensus being: "Part political treatise, part melodrama, Marco Bellocchio's Mussolini biopic forsakes historical details in favor of absorbing emotion -- and provides a showcase for a stunning performance from Giovanna Mezzogiorno."[5]

Vincere was well received by French critics during the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and was considered to be a possible Palme d'Or contender, along with Un Prophète from Jacques Audiard and the The White Ribbon from Michael Haneke.[6]


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