Run, man, run / Corri uomo corri (1968)

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3.5 out of 5



In this sequel to his own, superior, The Big Gundown, Sergio Sollima, on of the three great Sergios of the Italian west, explores themes of redemption and sacrifice against the backdrop of the Mexican revolution. Alliances shift, as an assortment of fortune hunters, including perennial character faces such as Nello Pazzafini and Luciano Rossi, race to a three million dollar hoard of gold. But, here, poets, propagandists and other righteous idealists falter, where only men of action are able to succeed. The immoral, of course, get nothing.

Additional scoring from Ennio Morricone echoes, ever so slightly, his work on the Dollars Trilogy. Meanwhile Tomas Milian, reprising his role as Seven Samurai inspired Cuchillo Sanchez, once again gets to bring a shoulder-knife to a gunfight. He is also strapped to a spinning windmill in just one of a number of crucifixion inspired scenes throughout the feature.


César and Rosalie / César et Rosalie (1972)

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3.5 out of 5



Rosalie, played by Romy Schneider, is at the centre of a love triangle. On the one side is César. Played by Yves Montand, he is a dependable, sometimes impulsive, Nigel Farage-esque, businessman. On the other is David. He is the moody, slightly rebellious, arty type. Played by Sami Frey, he inks comic books for a living.

Classically seventies, and at times aesthetically not unlike Neither the Sea nor the Sand, this Claude Sautet helmed French, Italian and West German production primarily concentrates upon the bromance-cum-rivalry of the male leads. However, here, despite the title, the character of Rosalie is far from fully rounded. Instead, existing in a netherworld, somewhere between Knife in the Water and Jules et Jim, she drifts around, vacantly, in a haze of opaque motivation and the occasional cloud of cigarette smoke.


Hungry for Love / Adua e le compagne (1960)

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5.0 out of 5



Seldom has black-and-white footage looked as lush and captivating as it does in Hungry for Love. The visual equivalent of the appropriately utilised Santo and Johnny classic, Sleep Walk, this Golden Lion nominated feature is a real joy to behold.

Combined with a real eye for location, delightfully captured by the realist cinematography of Armando "Silver Bullet" Nannuzzi, this makes for an essential of early sixties Italian cinema.

Star, Simone Signoret of Les Diaboliques, is excellent as a pushy brothel madame in this rambling yet ultimately fulfilling, dramatic tale, while the legendary Marcello Mastroianni provides her, cynically, with a manipulative loverat-interest who leads her to a Fellini-esque conclusion. Direction is by Antonio Pietrangeli, assistant on Visconti's iconic Ossessione.


Nights of Cabiria, The / Le notti di Cabiria (1957)

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5.0 out of 5



Ever hopeful of a break, Giulietta Masina's lady of the night, Cabiria, manages to combine a cold, street-toughness with occasional flashes of loris-eyed naivety. Cabiria is aspirational yet practical. Nevertheless, she is bound by circumstances not of her choosing. Orphaned and poor, she has still managed to buy herself a little house.

However, this is not a film that is likely to to restore faith in humanity. Because, after all, this is the world of Federico Fellini and here, yet again, he cuts his muse no slack. Cruelly, as with Richard Basehart's Fool in La strada, a romantic connection represents a slim chance of escape. Once again, this proves to be a mirage.

A heartbreaking masterpiece on near enough every level, The Nights of Cabiria neatly précis the condition of a post-war Italian underclass while raising the question what really happens when faith and hope comes up against adversity. For, in a world stripped of illusions, hope, along with idealism, are too easily crushed under the wheels of reality.




Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics