The Best of Youth

June 22, 2003 0 By Fans
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)


An Italian epic that follows the lives of two brothers, from the 1960s to the 2000s.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 8.3/10 (10,145 voted)

Critic's Score: 89/100

Marco Tullio Giordana

Stars: Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Jasmine Trinca

Nicola and Matteo Carati are two brothers of Rome, who live the years from 1966 to 2000 and all the events which have signed this period. They begin their adventure, helping Giorgia, a young girl confined in an asylum. Then, after the flood of Florence, Nicola meets Giulia a talented piano player with a dangerous sympathy for the BR. Matteo, a rebel spirit entered in the police, will find the optimistic photographer Mirella. These four characters and many others will cross the years of terrorism and Tangentopoli.

Writers: Sandro Petraglia, Stefano Rulli


Luigi Lo Cascio

Nicola Carati

Alessio Boni

Matteo Carati

Adriana Asti

Adriana Carati

Sonia Bergamasco

Giulia Monfalco

Fabrizio Gifuni

Carlo Tommasi

Maya Sansa

Mirella Utano

Valentina Carnelutti

Francesca Carati

Jasmine Trinca


Andrea Tidona

Angelo Carati

Lidia Vitale

Giovanna Carati

Claudio Gioè

Vitale Micavi

Paolo Bonanni


Mario Schiano

Medicine Professor

Giovanni Scifoni


Michele Melega

Literature Professor

The possibilities were endless…


Official Website:
Official site |
Official site |

Release Date: 22 June 2003

Filming Locations: Florence, Tuscany, Italy

Opening Weekend: €44,759
(22 June 2003)
(8 Screens)

Gross: $254,224
(4 July 2005)

Technical Specs


(Montréal World Film Festival)
(Toronto International Film Festival)
(Cannes Film Festival)
(theatrical version)
(2 parts)


Crew or equipment visible:
In the scene where Mirella is driving the boat out of Sicily, the bottom of another white boat can be seen when the camera focuses on Andrea.


Sicilian Commissario:
What were you looking for, joining the Police?

Matteo Carati:
I wanted some rules.

Sicilian Commissario:
And what do you do, with these rules?

Matteo Carati:
I apply them

User Review

It does Italian cinema proud

Rating: 10/10

At last: an achievement contemporary Italian cinema can be proud of! Not
that the odd decent flick doesn't grace our screens these days; however,
when compared to Cinecitta's hey-day between the late 40s and 70s, today's
production is scant. The problem essentially is the dire lack of funding
scarce distribution. Most Italian films are either shown in hardly any
theatres – if any at all – while American blockbusters clog the screens of
Italian cinemas up and down the peninsula for months (cliched 1960s
terminology such as "cultural imperialism" springs to mind!). It's a
familiar story…
Then a couple of years ago, Gabriele Muccino's meaningless movies started
being hailed as the harbingers of a renaissance. That's when I started to
despair for this country's ailing contemporary cultural heritage!
"L'ultimo bacio" (to be avoided like the plague!) and his latest,
di me", are prime examples of Berlusconi-era cinema: pretty-to-look-at but
pointless, riddled with stoopid cliches, pre-packed, pre-digested
conclusions, conservative, moralistic and misogynistic undertones that
for brave portrayals of modern Italy (yeah right), hollow cynicism and
shallow "portraits" of middle-class malaise that are merely a smug,
self-referential celebration of this milieu (Muccino's own). Fortunately,
despite his popularity in recent years, an increasing number of
Italians share my views. And by the look of the Roman movie theatres
with people when I went to see La meglio gioventu' last week, they also
agree that Marco Tullio Giordana's last effort is worth the effort of
sitting in a cinema for almost 6 hours!
The movie is a mini-series (it will be shown by RAI television in autumn
2003). It was shown at this year's Cannes in the Un Certain Regard
Now it's shown in two separate, 3-hour screenings in selected
around Italy. This may sound like too much to bear even for the most
passionate of cinema-goers. But I cannot stress enough how successful the
experiment is and how effortless (and pleasant!) the experience. There are
almost as many opportunites to develop plot and characters as in a novel,
and one leaves the cinema with a feeling of having gotten to know and
to love the characters over a period of time.
The story begins in Rome in 1966 and ends in the present day. Watching it
a wonderful way of getting a feel for Italian history in the last 40
though without ever feeling like you're watching a dense, academic
"historic" film. Though it encompasses many historic events and nods
innumerable themes, it is first and foremost about people. An Italian
in Rome – the Carati family – a Roman father, Milanese mother, two
and two sisters – are the hub around which other characters rotate. The
Carati brothers, Nicola (played sympathetically by Luigi Lo Cascio, also
seen in Giordana's previous film, "I cento passi") and Matteo (the dishy
Alessio Boni), are in some ways the main characters. But the spotlight
shines for long spells onto other characters – namely the lovely
"psychopath" Giorgia, Red Brigade terrorist Giulia, as well as Mirella,
feisty and beautiful Sicilian photographer (Matteo's almost-love
Then there are innumerable other memorable portraits, all introducing a
social theme (such as Nicola's factory-worker friend, made redundant
Fiat's crisis at the start of the 80s, or Matteo's colleague, the
working-class policeman, who ends up on a wheelchair after a beating at a
political demonstration in the 70s). However, this is never done
heavy-handedly and all characters are first and foremost human beings who
can be appreciated as individuals transcending their backgrounds or
political leanings.
What I appreciated most in this movie was the lack of stereotyping. In
heavily-politicised Italy, this comes as a breath of fresh air. Thus
being a policeman, Matteo is convincingly portrayed as a cultured and
fiercely intelligent man whose emotional repression and desperate need for
rules are a tragic consequence of an ancient wound. And the
Giulia, the terrorist, is multi-faceted and has a believable psychological
background which explains (but neither justifies or condemns) her choices.
This woman, who abandons her young daughter and loving partner to embrace
life of political extremism, is never portrayed as a villain (this is
innovative, considering how harshly "bad" mothers and wives are normally
represented in movies!).
All actors, with the exception of the wooden and heavy-featured Valentina
Carnelutti (she plays the Carati's youngest daughter, Francesca), are
excellent. Humorous and deeply touching moments perfectly counterbalance
another in a setting that flits from Rome to Norway to Florence (during
1966 flood) to Turin (during the student demonstrations of the late 60s
70s), then to Milan, Sicily and the Tuscan countryside in the present day.
Then Norway again, in a beautiful and poetic closing of the
Early on in the film, young mental patient Giorgia, whom Matteo is charged
with taking for walks while he's still a student, introduces the theme of
psychiatry and its evolution from the 60s to the present day. Franco
Basaglia, the revolutionary psychiatrist whose humane and futuristic ideas
ultimately shut down Italian asylums in 1979, is mentioned later on as
Nicola's role-model but the movie is never preachy or self-righteous about
this. Again, this complex theme is not imposed upon the viewer in a dry
academic manner, but is interwoven into a compelling and moving subplot
which involves both brothers and brings about decisive changes in both
lives. Similarly, the traumatic Mafia killing of the Sicilian judge
Falcone (early 90s) is evoked as it deserves, but again, never crowds the
There is far more that could be said about La meglio gioventu'! But I will
give no more away, just a warm recommendation to go and see this
accomplished piece of movie-making. The fact it won a Cannes prize makes
more hopeful of its release abroad, especially in the UK, where Italian
cinema is direly underrepresented (with the exception of movies that show
Italy in a quaint or picturesque light).