Nasce un Campione

He who is called away from love and duty by a passion for the sport.

Russell might have it in mind at the start of French Dressing, certainly the inspiration is Tati (L’École des Facteurs, jour de fête), in characteristically dispassionate narration.


I sette contadini

The Fascists and their war came and went, leaving this memorial to i fratelli Cervi.

It recalls the documentary work of John Ford, especially Midway and Torpedo Squadron 8, beginning and ending in scenes of peace like Nasce un Campione.

Cp. The Fighting Sullivans (dir. Lloyd Bacon).



A night in jail for a Roman scapegrace of an antiquario suspected of murder.

Cf. Rossellini’s Anima nera (here, with Mastroianni, a foretaste of Visconti’s Il straniero).

Philip French (The Guardian), “like a cross between JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and Kafka’s The Trial...”


I giorni contati

Numbered Days, a clarification of Kurosawa’s Ikiru to start with...

“How Pasolini reconciles cinema and literature”, says the headline over the face of the dead man on the morning tram, a fortunate escapade among cadaveri eccellenti.

The consolations of art? One is a plumber. Medical science? The old flame? Travel?

The wisdom of his years sits as a wig on a girl of seventeen.

Eleanor Mannikka (All Movie Guide), “psychological and social drama”.


Il maestro di Vigevano

Like Sedgwick’s Speak Easily, a spoof of Sternberg’s Der blaue Engel.

Mallarmé edited La Dernière Mode, Rattigan’s Chipping married an artiste, Godard’s Le Mépris is mirrored in Petri’s film.

Signor Bugatti is the beau idéal of Reisz’ Isadora.

The ambition of a schoolteacher to become a shoe magnate at his wife’s urging has the softest suggestion possible of Chaplin’s The Great Dictator in the gymnasium scene, and that’s enough.


La decima vittima

It was fatally misunderstood, porca madonna, as “a clever but patently self-conscious intellectual exercise” (Bosley Crowther, New York Times), whereas it is the battle of the sexes and a simple romance.

Crowther’s remark only means that he tired of it, the error is to confuse the stylistic construction of the entire film (a world government sponsoring the Big Hunt) with its stylistic presentation as a kind of science-fiction future.

There’s not much use in asking for further analysis, if the thing can’t be grasped at all. The State claims all parents, Marcello hides his away for safekeeping, his ex-wife and his mistress are chums, he’s expected to marry the latter now that an annulment has been granted.

The rules of the game are set forth, one alternates as hunter and victim, ten kills (The 10th Victim) mean a million dollar prize.

Caroline is a victim, then a hunter, Marcello first hunter then victim. The two are paired by a computer in Geneva (hunter knows victim, victim knows nothing), the hunt is on.


A ciascuno il suo

An assassination viewed from a Sicilian perspective as a delitto d’onore or not, as the case may be.

Irene Papas as the widow, e.g.

A certain anticipation of Z (dir. Costa-Gavras), mirabile dictu.

Gian Maria Volontè’s amusing portrait of a professore di liceo.

Hanno fatto un vero capolavoro.”

Renata Adler of the New York Times, “the movie can't seem to commit itself to a tone or a form.”


Un posto tranquillo di campagna

The ending perfectly coincides with that of Reisz’ Morgan—A Suitable Case for Treatment, and there is Vanessa Redgrave both times to seal the deal, therefore it is possible to speak of something else besides the “study of encroaching madness” noted by Howard Thompson in his New York Times review (of the English version, A Quiet Place in the Country), a rave as it happens.

There is the artist, comfortably ensconced and all that, so tenuously allied with the real in a certain sense, of this world and all that, one picks up his work at the loony bin, “his best”. He cannot be categorized or subsumed, the style conveys his mind, perhaps the least significant aspect of his existence.


Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto

Petri pays a debt incurred to Robbe-Grillet (Le Voyeur) by means of a pun, Othello’s “out, brief candle”. This is the pivot whereby the “iron bar without a hole” in the Zen koan (an open door) is revealed at the end of the film as Kafka’s “Before the Law” to give the meaning “I am the way, the truth, and the life”.

That is sufficiently abstruse and plain to account for the various interpretations. Only one citizen is above suspicion. Caesar’s wife is another pun.

The unnamed Chief of Homicide Section looks up at his mistress and sees the word Scienza, after the deed he looks out the window and sees the Hebrew letters of the Decalogue set in stone.

The witness is a revolutionary zealot. Sea water is given a conspirator, fresh if he confesses. So it goes, pearling before swine (the critics who thought it a screed), a work every bit the equal of Buñuel’s finest.

A promotion to Chief of Political Intelligence sets the protagonist in a comic light vis-à-vis his staff like the stranger inquiring of news on the road to Emmaus.

A fairly gripping, surreal policier on the face of it, exceptionally well-filmed (it lost the Golden Palm at Cannes to MASH, another film equally admired and misunderstood).


Tre ipotesi sulla morte di Giuseppe Pinelli
Documenti su Giuseppe Pinelli

Death by defenestration of “the anarchist Pinelli”, the official versions, various “headlines”, a case from the history books.

Variety, “an agitprop short”.


La classe operaia va in paradiso

Laborare est orare, Bresson’s ass would say, where should Kafka’s cases go if they smashed the apparatus that mangled them?

Management have stopwatches, Communists have bullhorns (“more money, less work!”).

Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront, Guy Green’s The Angry Silence.

A great master of the Italian cinema, a great actor in the lead.

Palme d’or, Cannes.

A.H. Weiler (New York Times) naturally resented this, having no class and doing no work, as a rule.


La proprietà non è più un furto

Your thief is a thief, a psychological case if you will, and a certain social element, economically speaking.

Your corrupt businessman is something of a thief etc.

Dieterle’s Fashions of 1934 states the case, also Lang’s You and Me.

Your Marxist is another ball of wax on the Satanic side, his error is manifest.

Hence this satirical critique and the title, Q.E.D. The concubina and the brigadiere are considered as well.

De Sica’s Ladri di biciclette and Bresson’s Pickpocket are prime studies.

Clarke Fountain (All Movie Guide), “a complicated tale”.


Todo modo

Todo modo para buscar la voluntad divina.”

Ignatian exercises to purify the social leaders of Italy.

At the end, they are all found dead, including the priest who conducts the exercises, with reference to Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death”.

A mad acronym of Fascism is discerned in the course of the proceedings.

Canby would have liked to have a program, and relates that the film was banned in Italy. The style is observable as among the best that country offers, both Fellini and Antonioni are comfortably spoken.


Buone Notizie

Last Waltz with Milano, the man in the middle, “una historia di frocci” if you like, it depends on the point of view.

The old squeeze play, but neither the TV news executive nor his wife did it, they were watching the news at the time, a Jew at that and fearful of everything, the late lamented.

And who knocked up the little woman in the end (cf. Reisz’ Morgan—A Suitable Case for Treatment), anyway?

Jules Feiffer for ambiance (Little Murders, dir. Alan Arkin). The littered landscape of Todo modo, a paper chase (The Stranger, dir. Orson Welles).

Dan Pavlides (All Movie Guide), “the theme is that human triviality and hang-ups hamper the quests of basic needs that can lead to a satisfying existence.”