"This is an outrage," asserts one festival programmer, who thinks that Marco Bellocchio's Vincere, the story of Mussolini's secret lover and their son, would have made a better choice. (That film was selected by the trifecta of film fests in Telluride, Toronto and New York.) "Evidently political pressures forced the Italians to give it to Tonatorre's big budget bust. People who saw it in Venice couldn't believe how bad it was. The selection system needs to change."
Here's the lede of Variety's review:
Overblown in every sense, “Baaria,” Giuseppe Tornatore’s multi-decade evocation of life in the Sicilian town of Bagheria (“Baaria” in the local dialect) boasts large sets and extras by the thousands, but the vet helmer seems to have forgotten how to develop a scene, let alone a character. Awash in phony nostalgia, cheap sentimentalism and puffed-up orchestrations, the pic could lure in locals with an advertising blitz, but offshore prospects don’t look good.