One of finest, and bravest, films about power and corruption ever made. With magnificent acting, particularly from Carlo Fermariello's communist counsellor and Rod Steiger's unscrupulous property developer, Rosi's film carries the chilling force of ancient drama while also realising the complexities and unedifying murk of municipal procedure. As a creative and moral essay it is stylish, austere and profound.
The city in question is Napoli and passions are running high as local politicians wish to utilize the calamity of a building collapse to their own advantage in a forthcoming election campaign. Rosi's extraordinary drama-documentary about municipal corruption shows off his mastery at handling crowds and the directorial ability, through lighting and editing, to match two opposing characters in ideological discussions..
Understated political drama on the corruption of Naples' city planning council. Rosi's film isn't the quickest or thrilling, but it's an accomplished production with a tight script and some superbly staged scenes. The most startling thing about Rosi's film is the way he crams scenes with so much life and noise, every speech is impassioned and bellowed out as the camera surveys the organised, political chaos.
Neopolitan councillors grappling with the concept of conflict of interest. Worth it for the stark and painterly scenes of bedlam in the council chambers. Rod Steiger is somehow upstaged by a non-actor and real-life communist party politician whose eyes sparkle with indignant repulsion when the rhetoric flies.
Certainly a film that requires you to don your political thinking cap. Excellent drama that at times, particularly in the parliamentary scenes, has the grandiosity of certain renaissance artworks. A compelling depiction of power that seems to be constantly balancing on the brink of chaos, its beauty is imbued with a sense of political discourse that might well make us question our contemporary vision of progress.
Powerful, smart and visually stunning (thanks to the superb direction by F. Rosi and the copybook cinematography by G. Di Venanzo, very close to the one used the same year for Fellini's "8 1/2"). It is more than an exceptional work-of-art, it is a brilliant lesson of politics and life, an overwhelming more-than-topical fact-finding work. A masterpiece.