Avere vent’anni (To Be Twenty) – (the title refers to the famous phrase at the beginning of Paul Nizan’s book, Aden Arabia: I was twenty years old. I will never allow anyone to say that these are the best years of my life.), was shot by Fernando di Leo in 1978. He also wrote the script which dates back to some years earlier and came from the desire to portray new female characters who had established a revolutionary psychology, and attitudes in society after 1968.
The intermediaries for this story are two young travelers, Tina and Lia – played by Lilli Carati and Gloria Guida, both very popular actresses at that time, who leave the Italian provinces and go to Rome to join a “community” and are under the illusion of being able to live in complete freedom, especially sexual freedom, without restraints or limits.
Continue reading Fernando Di Leo – Avere Vent’anni aka To Be Twenty (1978)
The film was based on a subject by Mario Gariazzo, a director who in the seventies, gravitated into the orbit of Daunia and to whom Fernando di Leo “lent a hand” by offering advice for his script – for his detective film, The Bloody Hands of the Law – and for the production of his western, Holy Water Joe and the tear-jerker, The Balloon Vendor, a story vaguely inspired by William Wyler’s famous film, The Desperate Hours. At the start it was Gariazzo who was to direct it but at the producers’ insistence he was finally replaced by di Leo. Continue reading Fernando Di Leo – Vacanze Per un Massacro aka Madness (1980)
When a shipment of heroin disappears between Italy and New York, a small-time pimp in Milan is framed for the theft. Two professional hitmen are dispatched from New York to find him, but the real thieves want to get rid of him before the New York killers get to him to eliminate any chance of them finding out he’s the wrong man. When the pimp’s wife and daughter are murdered in the course of the “manhunt”, he swears revenge on everyone who had anything to do with it. Continue reading Fernando Di Leo – La Mala ordina AKA Manhunt (1972)
(May contain spoilers.)
A cloaked figure slips into an exclusive psychiatric clinic and murders one of the female patients. Meanwhile, various sexuals liaisons are revealed. The mystery killer continues with his massacre: he beheads a nurse with a scythe, pushes a chauffeur into a spiked “Iron Maiden”, strangles an older female patient, kills a nymphomaniac with an axe, and shoots a lesbian through the neck with a crossbow. Doctor Clay and the police set a trap for the killer using one of the attractive female patients as bait. However, they are not prepared for the onslaugth that follows… Continue reading Fernando Di Leo – La Bestia uccide a sangue freddo AKA Slaughter Hotel (1971)
Milan Calibre 9 (made in 1971 and released the following year) is the first chapter of the famous “Milieu Trilogy”, continued with Manhunt (La mala ordina) and ending with The Boss (Il boss) in which Fernando di Leo explores the different aspects of the world of organized crime. The title of the film is taken from a story by Giorgio Scerbanenco which is part of the book I Centodelitti. This Russian writer also inspired certain parts of scripts ( Stazione centrale ammazzare subitofor the bomb package, Vietato essere felici and La vendetta è il miglior perdono for certain characteristics belonging to the main character, Ugo Piazza). But basically, di Leo created this film independently, using the noir genre as a vehicle for his own sociological, anthropological and also philosophical ideas about the world of crime. Continue reading Fernando Di Leo – Milano calibro 9 (1972)