Rod Steiger is ferocious as a scheming land developer in Francesco Rosi’s Hands over the City, a blistering work of social realism and the winner of the 1963 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion. This expose of the politically driven real-estate speculation that has devastated Naples’s civilian landscape moves breathlessly from a cataclysmic building collapse to the backroom negotiations of civic leaders vying for power in a city council election, laying bare the inner workings of corruption with passion and outrage. —The Criterion Collection
The films of Francesco Rosi stand as an urgent riposte to any proposal of aesthetic puritanism as a sine qua non of engaged filmmaking. From Salvatore Giuliano to Illustrious Corpses and Chronicle of a Death Foretold, he uses a mobilisation of the aesthetic potential of the cinema not to decorate his tales of corruption, complicity, and death, but to illuminate and interrogate the reverberations these events cause. If one quality were to be isolated as especially distinctive and characteristic it would have to be the sense of intellectual passion, of direction propelled by an impassioned sense of inquiry. This can be true in a quite literal way in Salvatore Giuliano, in which any “suspense” accruing to Giuliano’s death is put aside in favour of a search for another kind of knowledge; and The Mattei Affair, in which the soundtrack amasses evidence that is presented virtually in opposition to the images before us; or, in a more metaphoric sense, Christ Stopped at Eboli, which represents… read more
Posters for an essential retrospective in New York of the films of the great Italian chronicler of crime and punishment, Francesco Rosi.