One fine morning the police break in crooked antique dealer Alfredo’s apartment and bring him to the police station: he is accused of the murder of Adalgisa de Matteis, an ex-mistress of his. During the long and painful interrogation, he remembers some obscure fragments of his past.
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Petri’s fastidiously designed, Antonioni-influenced mise en scène alternates between the vast emptiness of a gloomy, ominous Rome, and cramped, stifling interiors, reflecting Martelli’s disconnection from his environment and his existential malaise.
May 03, 2017
Throughout the film, Petri generally opts for a smooth, crisp editing style as he moves back and forth in time. However, the central confrontation between Martelli and Palumbo – which takes place at a beach hotel almost exactly at the film’s mid-point – plays out in a handful of extended, expertly choreographed takes, set against a wide expanse of seashore.
Reflecting surfaces; camerawork punctiliously depicting Mastroianni amidst an environmentally degraded Rome; vivid, dishonorable remembrances indicative of one's moral failure within post-fascism Italy: Petri is attempting to grasp the nature of what ethical reckoning entails on both a social & an individual level. Though his viewpoint is dangerously close to cynicism, Petri's purpose is honorable. Where is virtue?
A tightly wound allegory; innocence and guilt surge much like the italian coastline. The tides one must navigate in search of a comfortable existence amongst complicated turbulence. Petri lays bare our unforeseen raging through his lens of hindsight. Superbly composed and quizzically erudite in it's observations- we can all be guilty of inhumanity.
First Elio Petri full-length film. Reminded me of Hitchcock's 'The Wrong Man' (1956) and Miller's 'Garde à Vue' (1981) but in the Italian tragi-comic manner. Laws are strict but personal ethics very variable and fuzzy and Mastroianni is in the middle. Recommended.
Film italien de Elio Petri, avec Marcello Mastroianni, Micheline Presle, Cristina Gaioni, Salvo Randone,
Marcello Mastroianni once again exudes effortless cool in this Elio Petri film that uses a murder investigation to peel away the character of a suave, morally ambiguous, man. He may have his flaws, but is he the killer?
Not-quite-but-nearly Antonioni drama starring Mastroianni in probably his best performance as a neurotic antiques dealer. Top pacing and subtext that aren't too strongly forced on the viewer, or take precedent over the entertainment.