The Anthology Film Archives Presents: The Italian Connection: Poliziotteschi and Other Italo-Crime Films of the 1960's and 70's
June 19 – June 29
Influenced both by 1960s political cinema and Italian crime novels, as well as by French noir and American cop movies like DIRTY HARRY and THE FRENCH CONNECTION, many Italian filmmakers in the late-60s and early-70s gradually moved away from the spaghetti western genre, trading lone cowboys for ‘bad’ cops and the rough frontier of the American west for the mean streets of modern Italy. Just as they had with their westerns, they reinvented the borrowed genre with their inimitable eye for style and filled their stories with the kidnappings, heists, vigilante justice, and brutal violence that suffused this turbulent moment in post-boom 1970s Italy. The undercurrent of fatalism and cynicism in these uncompromising movies is eerily reminiscent of the state of discontent in Italy today.
‘The Italian Connection’ showcases the diversity and innovation found in the genre, from the gangster noir of Fernando Di Leo’s CALIBER 9 to Damiano Damiani’s political thriller CONFESSIONS OF A POLICE CAPTAIN, and from Carlo Lizzani’s real-time exposé BANDITS IN MILAN to Umberto Lenzi’s genre favorite ALMOST HUMAN and Aldo Lado’s scarce BORN WINNER, starring Joe Dallessandro. Featuring terrific scores by Ennio Morricone, Stelvio Cipriani, Bruno Nicolai, Maurizio & Guido De Angelis, and others, some of these gems have been rediscovered and released on DVD thanks to the enthusiasm of the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Joe Dante, but many remain under-recognized in the U.S.
Based on an actual band of bank robbers in Milan in the 60s, Carlo Lizzani’s pre-cursor to the popular crime noir of the following decade employs cinema vérité techniques to expose the underbelly of Italy’s most modern city. Tomas Milian is the detective hot on the trail of a pack of bandits led by the charismatic Gian Maria Volonté. This essential entry was selected for the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, which was canceled due to the tumultuous political events of May ’68.
Widely considered the Poliziottesco that started it all, this highly stylized crime action drama from the genre master Castellari (of the original INGLORIOUS BASTARDS fame) spawned a whole generation of ‘bad’ cops. Franco Nero dazzles as the hot-tempered, trigger-happy detective who is out to bring down a powerful European drug ring while fighting the system that cripples him. On display are delirious chase sequences on the road, the roof, even a golf course, along with no-holds-barred violence, notably involving meat hooks and signature slow motion.
(A CIASCUNO IL SUO) With Gian Maria Volonté, Irene Papas, and Gabriele Ferzetti.
Following a string of anonymous letters, a man is killed during a hunting party. A leftist professor begins sleuthing around for the truth as he becomes involved with the man’s widow and her cousin. With a sort of strange happy ending, Petri’s foray into Sicilian ways is a rarely-seen suspense/romance film with top-notch performances from Gian Maria Volonté, Irene Papas, and Gabriele Ferzetti (L’AVVENTURA).
June 20 at 9:15 PM June 26 at 7:00 PM June 29 at 9:00 PM
(MILANO CALIBRO 9) With Gastone Moschin, Barbara Bouchet, Mario Adorf, Fernando Cerulli, and Frank Wolff.
Gastone Moschin (THE CONFORMIST) is Ugo Piazza, a tight-lipped gangster just released from prison. He is hounded by Rocco, the psychopathic right-hand man of a powerful Milan gang, played with manic energy by the inimitable Mario Adorf, who believes that Ugo had something to do with a large sum of money that’s gone missing. Di Leo, who got his start as one of the screenwriters for Sergio Leone, gives this film – the first chapter of what is known as the ‘milieu trilogy’ – a near Shakespearean touch. Stylized action sequences, a terrific score by Luis Enriquez Bacalov, the gritty setting of Milan in the 70s, and clever plot twists are just a few of the reasons why Quentin Tarantino has called this the best Italian noir ever made.
(CONFESSIONE DI UN COMMISSARIO DI POLIZIA AL PROCURATORE DELLA REPUBBLICA) With Franco Nero and Martin Balsam.
A police captain (Balsam) – determined to bring justice by all means to criminals who appear to be above the law – clashes with a young DA (Franco Nero) who wants to play by the book. Damiani’s disturbing political thriller is a good guy vs. good guy drama where the bad guy is the impenetrable system ruled by corruption and unsavory ties. The NEW YORK TIMES called it “a thoughtful, modest movie about the perversion of justice.”
(AD OGNI COSTO) With Janet Leigh, Robert Hoffmann, Klaus Kinski, and Edward G. Robinson.
Featuring an international cast (Edward G. Robinson, Klaus Kinski, Janet Leigh), Montaldo’s suspenseful caper offers plenty of thrills typical of the genre, and much more as well. A group of international thieves band together to pull off a diamond heist during the Carnival in Rio, and the only person that stands in their way is the gem company’s icy secretary, memorably played by Leigh.
A departure from the horror master’s usual fare, this terrific thriller finds three armed robbers, with hostage in tow, hijacking a car driven by a man with a sick child. Shot almost entirely inside a moving car, there is much more here than meets the eye. Due to the death of the main investor, the production was shut down as it neared completion, and Bava never lived to see the finished film, which he himself considered his most important work. In the late 90s, the elements of the unfinished film were rediscovered and, following Bava’s notes, the film was finally completed. A decade later, an alternative version with newly-shot footage and a different soundtrack was released on DVD in the U.S. under the title KIDNAPPED. We will be showing both the first cut (on June 21 & 28) with its original Stelvio Cipriani soundtrack (available only digitally) and the new version (on 35mm) on June 24!
(INDAGINE SU UN CITTADINO AL DI SOPRA DI OGNI SOSPETTO) With Gian Maria Volonté.
An unnamed police chief kills his mistress for no apparent reason and leaves a trail of clues in his wake. A potent satire/police procedural on the corrupting nature of power, Elio Petri’s masterpiece distills all the cynicism and rage typical in these films down to its very essence. Viewing this in the context of the genre is sure to offer a renewed perspective even to those who are familiar with the film.
(MILANO ODIA: LA POLIZIA NON PUÒ SPARARE) With Tomas Milian and Henry Silva.
In this nonstop action thriller from the prolific Umberto Lenzi (PARANOIA, NIGHTMARE CITY, CANNIBAL FEROX), a sociopathic criminal (gleefully played by Tomas Milian) kidnaps the daughter of a rich man, and to get his hands on the loot he will kill, backstab, and blackmail anyone and everyone. As the original U.S. trailer advises, “CAUTION: Morally and sexually this motion picture may shock you. But it’s an experience in psycho-sadism you will never forget.” This is Lenzi at his most scathing and unapologetic.
(LA POLIZIA CHIEDE AIUTO) With Giovanna Ralli and Mario Adorf.
When a young girl is found dead by hanging, the police find themselves on the trail of a motorcycle killer. What they uncover is a truth far more sinister and inconvenient. A perfect blend of police procedural and suspenseful giallo, this is the second installment in the ‘school girls in peril’ trilogy by Dallamano (who was formerly Sergio Leone’s cinematographer). Released in the U.S. as COED MURDERS, this socially relevant thriller is graced by a terrifically catchy score by Stelvio Cipriani.
A prison warden’s wife is kidnapped, and the kidnapper demands the release of one of the warden’s prisoners in exchange. The plot is a familiar one, except that in this case the warden, played by the charismatic and boozy Oliver Reed, takes matters into his own hands by kidnapping the convict (Fabio Testi) after orchestrating his very escape. What ensues is a surprisingly compelling drama between the two men as they set out, through the foggy streets of northern Italy to the bohemian lofts of Paris, to uncover the truth and save Reed’s wife. Sollima considered the film foremost a drama set against a crime backdrop rather than a straight entry in the genre.
A down-on-his-luck waiter (Massimo Ranieri) and a motorcycle racer-turned-thief played by Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro team up for a heist, but what sets this curious blend of action, drama, and comedy apart is its focus on the two leads’ budding friendship, with a hint of homoerotic undercurrent. This rare film is underscored by the music of Fabio Frizzi (ZOMBIE, THE BEYOND) and the classy direction of Aldo Lado (THE SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS, WHO SAW HER DIE, NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS).
A departure from the horror master’s usual fare, this terrific thriller finds three armed robbers, with hostage in tow, hijacking a car driven by a man with a sick child. Shot almost entirely inside a moving car, there is much more here than meets the eye. Due to the death of the main investor, the production was shut down as it neared completion, and Bava never lived to see the finished film, which he himself considered his most important work. In the late 90s, the elements of the unfinished film were rediscovered and, following Bava’s notes, the film was finally completed (as RABID DOGS). A decade later, an alternative version with newly-shot footage and a different soundtrack was released on DVD in the U.S. under the title KIDNAPPED. We will be showing both the first cut (on June 21 & 28) with its original Stelvio Cipriani soundtrack (available only digitally) and the new version (on 35mm) on June 24!
$10 General Admission
$8 Essential Cinema (free for members)
$8 Students, seniors
$6 AFA Members, and children (12 & under)
Tickets are available at Anthology's box office on the day of the show only. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first show of the day. There are no advance ticket sales. Reservations are available to Anthology members only.
Anthology Film Archives
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