Elio Petri’s tendency towards obfuscation stepped up yet another gear with Todo modo (76), which is one of the strangest films ever made. Set in the near future, it delineates an Italian society that is run by a coalition between powerful industries, the ‘party’ and – above all – the Catholic Church.
If The Working Class Goes to Heaven was a pretty idiosyncratic affair, Elio Petri’s next film, Property is no Longer a Theft (La proprietà non è più un furto, 73) is simply bonkers.
Volonté and Petri joined forces again for 1971’s The Working Class Goes to Heaven and, impressively, they managed to concoct something that was even more hysterical than Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion.
Ostensibly a ghost story, A Quiet Place in the Country is, in fact, an atmospheric rumination upon the nature of art, pornography, insanity and – heck – life itself.
For 1969’s Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion, Elio Petri turned his eye to the then nascent urban crime thriller, a genre that reflected – and some would say preyed upon – the political and economic uncertainties rife in Metropolitan Italy at the time.
After all the high-concept exuberance of The Tenth Victim, We Still Kill the Old Way saw Petri move from sci-fi to the crime genre and, stylistically, marked a return to a more subtle, low-key approach.
Based on a novel by Robert Sheckley, The Tenth Victim represented a marked sea change in Elio Petri’s oeuvre. Gone was the low key, wry approach of his former films: this is a brash, colorful production that exudes extravagance from it’s every pore.