Review: ‘Elio Petri: Notes on a Filmmaker’

Although he directed a dozen films and won, among many major awards, a foreign film Oscar for "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion," Elio Petri has been rather scandalously forgotten since his death in 1982. The passionate little biodoc "Elio Petri: Notes on a Filmmaker" will be of special interest to festivals in recalling Petri's career as a politically militant director in the '60s and '70s.

Although he directed a dozen films and won, among many major awards, a foreign film Oscar for “Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion,” Elio Petri has been rather scandalously forgotten since his death in 1982. The passionate little biodoc “Elio Petri: Notes on a Filmmaker” will be of special interest to festivals in recalling Petri’s career as a politically militant director in the ’60s and ’70s, and in introducing one of Italian cinema’s most original talents to a new generation of viewers, it is hoped in tandem with reissues of his major work.

Young co-directors Federico Bacci, Stefano Leone and Nicola Guarnei whip swiftly through the basics of Petri’s life to concentrate on his films, which include the classics “I Giorni contati,” “The Working Class Goes to Heaven,” “We Still Kill the Old Way, “The Tenth Victim” and “Todo Modo.” Generous excerpts from the films alternate with narration by people who knew Petri, including Bernardo Bertolucci, Ursula Andress, Dante Ferretti, Giancarlo Giannini, Ennio Morricone, Gillo Pontecorvo, Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave and Robert Altman. Doc successfully leaves the viewer with an urge to see Petri’s films.

Elio Petri: Notes on a Filmmaker

Italy

Production

A BIM Distribuzione release (in Italy) of an Associazione Indagine/BIM production. Produced by Paola Petri. Directed, written by Federico Bacci, Stefano Leone, Nicola Guarnei.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Bacci, Leone, Guarnei; editor, Paola Freddi; music, Simone Soldani. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (Venice Days), Sept. 3, 2005. Original title: Elio Petri. Appunti su un autore. Running time: 70 MIN.
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