Another three week retrospective starts at Melbourne Cinematheque this week, this time focusing on Italian filmmaker Francesco Rosi. Having worked under Antonioni, Monicelli, and Visconti, Rosi took guidance from all whilst creating his own distinct style, often incorporating real life figures, events, and issues. A frontrunner of the Italian Post-neorealist movement, Rosi’s films are often overlooked. Thankfully Cinematheque has a vast array of his works in the coming weeks.
To begin we have Illustrious Corpses (1976). Formatted to be a film that follows along Breton’s surrealist drawing game Cadavre Exquis, the film is set in the political upset of Italy in the ‘70s, with leftists clashing with the conservative government and riots, disappearances, and murder becoming commonplace. Inspector Rogas is trying to find who killed two high-profile judges, the case leading him to realise that many prisoners the judges incarcerated were actually innocent. Whilst Rogas looses faith in the government system he has sworn to protect the revolutionaries he is investigating are also forced to face up to their ideals and recognise that the implementation of them can change them
Whilst set in West Germany, I Magliari (1959) still deals with the trials and tribulations constantly present throughout Italy and its inhabitants. Mario Balducci (Renato Salvatori) is first presented as living in Hannover. He then settles in Hamburg to sell cloth on the advice of a gregarious new acquaintance who turns out to have connections with organised crime. A beautifully shot exploration of the exploiting of immigrants and the marginalised.