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THE GRIM REAPER

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.

See also...

PARTNER

Italy, 1968
“An energetic thumb-nosing fossil of 60s fragmentation, cinematic upset, and sub-Marxist yowlings.” - Village Voice ... This rarely seen, unorthodox retelling of Dostoevsky's The Double is Bernar… More »

THE CONFORMIST

Italy, 1970
Self-preservation in the face of, and conformity to the dictates and ideologies of political power have made cowards of countless numbers of solid citizens. ... Just such a coward is Marcello who has… More »

BEFORE THE REVOLUTION

Italy, 1964
Before the Revolution is both personal and autobiographical. Its title comes from Talleyrand's famous remark: "Only those who lived before the Revolution knew how sweet life could be." The Talleyrand… More »

THE SPIDER'S STRATEGY

Italy, 1970
As in his 1971 Festival film, The Conformist, in The Spider's Strategy, Bertolucci again tackles a political subject, this time about the unravelling of the mystery of a political assassination. ... … More »

LA LUNA

Italy, 1979
Bernardo Bertolucci's new films always come as shocks More than most film-makers, each new film is a reaction against his previous work. Since he got into his international stride with The Conformist… More »

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