Friday, August 27, 2010

Viva il separatismo della liberta

Salvatore Giuliano (1962) - Rosi
Francesco Rosi's depiction of the life and death of the Sicilian separatist Salvatore Giuliano makes Soderbergh's Ché look like a daytime soap. With a cold narration and Giuliano being only a dead body, Rosi paints a complicated picture of postwar Italy where the politicians, mafia, separatists, police are all in cahoots, trying to get a piece of power and leave poor peasants to fend for themselves. The first half concerns with guerrilla warfare against stark/beautiful Sicilian backdrop and the second half, the courtroom drama where Giuliano's lieutenants are on trial for a civilian massacre. Turns out everyone had their own angles to play and things get muddy quickly.

Resembling a newsreel, Rosi's work might lack an identifiable character, but still maintains its power and weight through its immediacy and naturalism borne out of Italian neo-realism. Only comparable film I can think of is Gillo Pontecorvo's Battle of Algiers which came later.