The brutalized corpse of a Roman prostitute is found along the banks of the Tiber River. The police round up a handful of possible suspects and interrogate them, one by one, each account bringing them closer to the killer. In this, his stunning debut feature—based on a story by Pier Paolo Pasolini—Bernardo Bertolucci utilizes a series of interconnected flashbacks to explore the nature of truth and the reliability of narrative. —The Criterion Collection
Bernardo Bertolucci proved to be Italian cinema’s great prodigy, making his debut The Grim Reaper at the age of 22, and Before the Revolution at the age of 24; achievements comparable to Orson Welles directing Citizen Kane at the age of 25. He was born in Parma in 1940. He initially followed the footsteps of his father Attilio, a noted poet and critic. His poetry received prizes at competitions and a collection of his work was published while he was still a teenager. But his attention was already diverted to the cinema, especially after viewing Godard’s Breathless. His planned transition from poetry to cinema found an accomplice in fellow poet Pier Paolo Pasolini. A family friend, he regarded Bertolucci as a kindred spirit and tasked him as his assistant on his landmark debut, Accattone. The experience, described by Bertolucci as witnessing “the invention of the cinema” further ignited his own ambitions.
The Grim Reaper was based on a story by Pasolini but the resulting film displayed… read more
A little too clumsy and not well-thought out, plotwise, but a fine directorial debut; especially loved the sequence with the wandering G.I.
English Title: The Grim Reaper
Original Title: La commare secca
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Pier… read review