Directed by: Bernardo Bertolucci
Countries & Regions: Italy
Studio: Mr Bongo Records
Length: 100 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 25 April 2011
Cat No: MRBDVD039
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Bertolucci was only 21 when he directed this, his feature debut, based on a story by his friend, Pier Paolo Pasolini.
After a prostitute is murdered in a park in Rome, the police round up and question a series of men who were seen in the area that night: an inept thief, a pair of gauche teenagers, a guileless soldier on leave, an itinerant roughneck. Each one recounts their movements with varying degrees of truthfulness.
It’s hard not to imagine that Kurosawa’s Rashomon was an influence on the multi-viewpoint structure, and Pasolini’s stamp is clearly visible in the use of non-professional actors and the general milieu of nocturnal ne’er-do-wells.
But you can see Bertolucci feeling his way towards his own style, with tracking shots and montage sequences that keep us just a little off balance. There’s also an air of playfulness that owes something to the French Nouvelle Vague, and a very Italian tendency for the camera to dwell lovingly on faces. All in all, an auspicious beginning for a future master.