Sunday, February 27, 2011

#228: Salvatore Giuliano

(Francesco Rosi, 1961)

Salvatore Giuliano would have been amazing if I was Italian. I think even watching the commentary would dramatically change my perception of the film. Unfortunately, I didn't watch the commentary, and most people who watch or have watched this film don't get the opportunity to watch commentary, and so I was largely lost in this film.

Watching the movie, I was reminded of two things. The first was Gomorrah, which was a much more accessible but ultimately not nearly as well made (and not nearly as important) as this earlier film which set the way for a specific kind of docudrama. The second was, of course, The Wire, which I am reminded of every time I encounter a multi-layered, complex, and reality-based film or TV show about crime and politics and the ways in which they interlap.

Finally though, I just didn't feel like I came away from the film with the kind of proper perspective on what happens in Sicily and how it relates to Italy as a whole. The film felt foreign to me in more than the literal sense, it felt distant - more importantly, it felt like I was only getting a few pieces of a puzzle that was out there for me to discover, but had not been provided in the film.

Because of these things, I think Salvatore Giuliano is the perfect example of a specific kind of movie that Criterion releases: the film that doesn't just benefit from supplements, but requires them. The surrounding supplements in this 2-disc set would inevitably enrich the experience of the film (I rented this movie, and therefore didn't have the second disc in the set). However, for me, the movie didn't interest me enough to seek out these supplements yet. Perhaps after watching Rosi's other film in the collection, Hands Over the City, I'll feel the urge to go back.

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