In 1858 Bologna, a 6-year-old named Edgardo Mortara was seized by authorities of the papal state, taken away from his Jewish parents, and placed in the care of the Church. Believed to have been baptized in the cradle under odd circumstances, the child would be claimed as a Catholic. His mind erased of his family’s religious heritage and beliefs, Edgardo was, unbeknownst to him, at the center of an international firestorm that led directly to the Italian people’s rejection of the Pope’s rule amidst the tumultuous Risorgimento. In this sumptuously mounted film from treasured octogenarian director Marco Bellocchio, the Mortara case becomes an extraordinary, nearly operatic historical drama. Kidnapped is at once a personal, human-scale narrative of a family in crisis, following parents who will do anything to retrieve their child from the clutches of a ruthless theocratic government, and a wide-scope portrait of a country on the cusp of revolution. A Cohen Media Group release.
Recommended Film Comment reading:
Sign up to the Film Comment Letter for NYFF61 coverage and more original film criticism year-round.