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Italy, 1962 (MIFF 1983, Missed Films of Masters)

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

BertoIucci's first film (1962) starts like a thriller: The body of a woman is found on a river bank near a suburban park in Rome, and the police interrogate a number of people who were seen in the vicinity before the murder.

A former thief, a homosexual and the two boys he picked up, a man looking for work—they all try to cover up little acts of dishonesty, of petty crime. It soon becomes apparent that all of them have reasons for lying about what they were actually doing that afternoon, and the principal interest of the film is not the question of evidence, but lies in these incidentals—the stories which are told or shown and turn out to be marginal to the main enquiry. Even a soldier, who has done nothing wrong, prefers to lie rather than admit that he spent his day's leave trying to pick up girls in the street. La Commare secca was based on an idea of Pasolini and his influence is evident in many details.

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