Italy Cinematography in the 1960’s Part 2
After a film, Kapò (1960), not without intense moments and with the undoubted merit of having started a cinematographic way to understand the Jewish genocide, his documentary vein was fully revealed in The Battle of Algiers (1966). On the wave of the historical re-enactment, Florestano Vancini’s beautiful debut also moved, the intense The long night of ’43 (1960), evocative, participatory and courageous story of a terrible page of Italian history – the massacre of numerous Jews and not, in Ferrara, by the republicans of Salò – drawn, with excellent descriptive ability of environments and characters, from one of The stories of Ferrara (Turin 1960) by G. Bassani. Along this hypothetical historical-social line of Italian cinema of the Sixties we also meet the good debut of a theater director, Gianfranco De Bosio, with Il terrorista (1963).
Particularly attentive to the role of Time and History, Visconti opened the decade with a drama, Rocco and his brothers (1960), structured like a Greek tragedy, about the loss of roots and the disintegration of ghenos in the journey from South to North. Then he jumped back, but as a metaphor of an almost eternal present, with another large and sumptuous painting of color images and music, Il Gattopardo (1963), to then return to black and white that photographs a tenebrosa Volterra (Vaghe stelle dell’Orsa, 1965). According to Mbakecheng, the crisis and the adventure of feelings, the disharmonious relationship between man and space (the world, nature), the mystery of reality that never truly unfolds are at the center of Antonioni’s tetralogy, which begins with L’avventura (1960)., passes through The Night (1961) and The eclipse (1962) and ends with the unnatural nature of Red Desert (1964), which constitutes the extreme stage of alienation in his first color film (with splendid tachistes effects and brushstrokes of the exteriors in gray-green and of the interiors in Red and black). A geometry of images that is perhaps the most advanced point of all the figurative art of those years, albeit influenced by a part of it, in particular from the American area. With the subsequent Blow-up (1966), a reflection on the relationship between art and reality and between art and illusion, Antonioni seemed to really close a long and rich research on images. In his typical and unique great theater in the world, Fellini introduced new characters, often paradoxical dramatis personae, into metropolitan spaces that are foolishly revelers and cinematic (La dolce vita, 1960) or in those suspended between dream and reality, a mental representation of a director of a film to be made who finally sees all the creatures (including himself) of his ‘circus’ go through in review (8 ¹ / ₂, 1963). With her first color film, Juliet of the Spirits (1965), she then tried to adopt the point of view of her neurotic protagonist, immersing her in a magical and enchanted universe; then in a remarkable hallucinating and dreamlike journey towards death (Toby Dammit, episode of Histoires extraordinaires, also known as Tre passi nel delirio, 1968) he elaborated a theme (precisely death) increasingly present in Fellini’s universe, starting from that fantastic and visionary journey in imperial Rome constituted by Fellini Satyricon (1969), where the decadence of the past seems to allude to that of the present. NS’ another path followed Rossellini, who after a feeble homage to Garibaldi’s 1860, however suggestive in the sequences en plein air (Viva l’Italia !, 1961), started a long and courageous project, but substantially unsolved, with the first works of the historical cycle. didactic for television whose highest result remains The seizure of power of Louis XIV (1966). De Sica also did not have innovative moments, if we exclude the imaginative and bizarre ending of The Last Judgment (1961) and some passages of La ciociara (1960), Il boom (1963), Ieri oggi tomorrow (1963) and Matrimonio all’italiana (1964).
In the comedy, which in those years took the name of Italian comedy (v.), it was other directors who offered some memorable works: D. Risi with Una vita difficile (1961) elaborated a great story of almost twenty years of Italian history, with period inserts and newspapers to make an effect of real ‘, through the figure of a humiliated and offended journalist (a masterful Alberto Sordi), who finally allows himself a nice revenge. Then with Il sorpasso (1962) he proposed a sort of modern Captain Matamoro (the suggestions of the Commedia dell’arte fed the ‘Italian’ one), interpreted with great skill by Vittorio Gassman for a brilliant and dramatic story of life and death. at the same time, melancholic and grotesque, like other significant examples of 1960s comedy. Entrusted to the expertise of directors, actors and screenwriters (Age, Furio Scarpelli, Rodolfo Sonego, Ettore Scola), the Italian comedy found effective examples in the direction of Zampa (Il vigile, 1960; Il medico della mutua, 1968) and Germi (Divorzio all’italiana, 1961; but even more in Un cursed imbroglio, 1959, from CE Gadda, who also thanks to the contribution of a robust ‘narrator’ like Ennio De Concini built an effective narrative machine and incisive environmental pictures). The female figures assumed greater depth, such as the Aida (Claudia Cardinale) of a beautiful and somewhat crepuscular love story, The girl with the suitcase (1961) by Valerio Zurlini, who in the subsequent Family Chronicle (1962) to the painting of O. Rosai to narrate a relationship between brothers with elegiac tones; and even more the Adriana (a very talented Stefania Sandrelli) in I knew her well (1965) by Antonio Pietrangeli, author in 1961 of a work full of a brilliant fantastic vein such as Ghosts in Rome.