The drawbacks and difficulties of military life are explored in this film. Paolo Passeri (Michele Placido) is a college graduate, somewhat spoiled, somewhat effete, who finds himself in an officer training program under the stern martinet, Captain Asciutto (Franco Nero). He gradually becomes acclimated to the military mind-set, and when the Captain’s wife (Miou-Miou) decides to take a romantic interest in him, he does not report her dangerous peculiarities to anyone. Continue reading
Mauro, a judge, is worried about his older sister Marta, who took care of him since he was a boy, and is now affected by psychic problems and suicide fantasies. She seems to recover from her depression when Mauro acquaints her with Giovanni, a brilliant actor at the edge of legality. Mauro become unconsciously jealous of this relationship, and try to get Giovanni arrested. Continue reading
Two haunting Italian tales from different centuries in the convent prison of Bobbio, caught somewhere between past and present: a young 17th century priest falls under the spell of a bewitching nun and a modern-day tax investigator tries to push a mysterious old man out of hiding… Continue reading
Love and Anger is a collection of five stories that are the handiwork of directors that have made names for themselves in decidedly different ways among the annals of foreign cinema. The heavy hitters of the time are all on board, including Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor, Partner), Marco Bellocchio (Devil in the Flesh), Carlo Lizzani (Requiescant), Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salo), and, a huge treat, the legendary Jean-Luc Godard (Band of Outsiders, Breathless). Most of these films are extremely surreal, but they all have political undertones. This actually works out quite well, as even if you aren’t familiar with the political climate in Italy and France during the 1960s, you can revel in these masters’ liberal use of inventive imagery, much of which never comes completely together in a standard narrative structure. The actors come from a pair of renowned theater groups: the Living Theater and Andy Warhol Factory, and include Julian Beck, who made his mark in Hollywood as the creepy preacher in Poltergeist II. Continue reading
Tormented by twisted desires, a young man takes drastic measures to rid his grotesquely dysfunctional family of its various afflictions in this astonishing 1965 debut from Marco Bellocchio. Charged by a coolly assured style, shocking perversity, and savage gallows humor, Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) was a gleaming ice pick in the eye of bourgeois family values and Catholic morality, a truly unique work that continues to rank as one of the great achievements of Italian cinema. Continue reading
Plot: The freshly graduated psychiatrist David shall deliver an opinion about young Maddalena, who’s on trial for murdering a hunter. She claims she’s a witch and acted on behalf of the devil. The public health officer tells David, he’s got reason to believe her, that she’d been searching for a man who suits her needs for 300 years. Already after his first meeting with Maddalena, David begins to change: He ignores his beautiful young wife Cristina and loses himself in daydreams and hallucinations in which he participates in Inquisition questioning and erotic witches’ circles. Continue reading
A mosaic of several intertwined stories questioning the meaning of life, love and hope, set during the last six days in the life of Eluana Englaro, a young woman who spent 17 years in a vegetative state.
With typical intelligence and complexity, director Marco Bellocchio weaves three stories around the politically hot topic of euthanasia, turning a real-life Italian national drama into engrossing narrative for sophisticated audiences. Refusing to offer easy answers or perspectives, Dormant Beauty is directed in such a way it doesn’t need to take a clear-cut position on the question, because like all the director’s work it has no concern with convincing people of anything, but a great deal of interest in illuminating contemporary Italian society. Its unqualified success in doing so should make it a full-fledged contender for a major prize at Venice and help it to closely imitate the international sales of his recent work. Continue reading