Saturday, December 22, 2007

Salvatore Giuliano (Francesco Rosi, 1962)


Francesco Rosi's international breakthrough was this biopic of famed Sicilian bandit-gangster Salvatore Giuliano, in which he's barely seen on screen other than as a corpse. In the soon to be popularised political semidocumentary style and with customary visual flair, Rosi builds a near-abstract portrait of Giuliano through the environment and zeitgeist that gave rise to him and then wiped him when he became an inconvenience. The temperament and murky ideals of Giuliano come to stand for those of Sicily.

The plot jumps back and forth in time in a baffling pattern with few signposts. The intention is to throw you into the dense, enveloping quagmire that is a gangster's life in Sicily rather than to order and sanitise said life into an easy chronology.

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