Friend of Hitler.
He was also a bastard when it came to his private life.
Meeting young Ida Dasler when he was a firebrand socialist and political agitator he embarked on a passionate affair with her, had a son (also Benito) and happily availed himself of her financial backing to set up his newspaper "Il Popolo d'Italia". He also married her. That fact didn't stop him from marrying someone else though and when Ida became a threat to his public image as the happily married "Il Duce" he had her committed to a psychiatric hospital and the boy placed in a home.
It's a fascinating and tragic story if not a surprising one.
Director Marco Bellochio delivers a film that is as hysterical as Ida Dasler was. Everything from the music to the performances of the leads borders on the very edge of mania. While that sits well with the story it doesn't make for an easy, or enjoyable, viewing experience.
On the surface this passes as very serious film making but in comparison with some of the other Italian films that form part of the current renaissance it doesn't measure up.