It’s been a couple of years now since I published In the Name of the Law, my book about Italian crime films prior to the poliziotteschi trend, but here’s a little bit of content I wrote for it which never made it into the final cut… my top ten Italian crime films made between 1945 and 1969.
Good News was another science fiction film for Elio Petri, although anyone expecting more of the out-and-out freakiness that so informed Todo modo is likely to be surprised.
For some reason, Elio Petri is a filmmaker who seems to have slipped off the cultural (and counter-cultural) radar.
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.