Athos Magnani, a young researcher, returns to Tara, where his father was killed before his birth, at the request of Draifa. The father, also named Athos Magnani and looking exactly like the son, was killed by a fascist in 1936 — or so says Draifa (his mistress), the town statue, and everyone in town. As the son untangles the web of lies this story is constructed from, he finds himself ensnared in the same web. —IMDb
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
Bertolucci’s camera retains poetry in its voyeuristic kineticism and heightened procession of socio-political intrigue raising the spectre of Italy’s fascist past - henceforth melding with the shifting canvas to form its lurching stratagem, albeit one with less a deal of incisiveness or consistency beneath its magnetic predilection for surface to commensurably support its insidious memento mori; Bertolucci the aesthete, if not the sculptor, saliently admired (nevermind in colour - savvy). For now: elusive.
Despite the poor quality of the VHS transfer that I was able to get my hands on, I must say the quality of the cinematography was quite impressive -- something of a masterclass in composition, truly. The writing was impeccable, an inspirational work, without a doubt. The lighting was at times, trying, perhaps experimental to be kind, perhaps the result of a TV budget, yet, didn't take away from overall quality.