The New German Cinema figurehead least likely to risk commercial success (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog and even Hans-Jürgen Syberberg granted themselves easier access for most international audiences), Werner Schroeter was nonetheless an influential and important figure, surviving without compromise well past many of his contemporaries. This bold experiment is a series of vignettes caustically illustrating Italian history from the fall of fascism to its present day. Among the principal actors are African-American Percy Hogan, who'd appeared in several European EMMANUELLE knockoffs and as "Mandingo" in the spaghetti western specialist Sergio Corbucci's Daniel Defoe spoof MR. ROBINSON. The otherwise Italian cast act as if they're in a cryptic Fassbinder epic of the early 1970s, their actions boldly theatrical yet opaque. A synthesizer rock score lends further frisson to an originally television-commissioned oddity of the like one can't imagine broadcasters airing (let alone commissioning) today. Yes, things were really different back then. - Dennis Harvey
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Reviews(see the best reviews)
This film, about the plight of destitute Italians and their aspirations, left an unsettling feeling about the futility of politics. The only one who escaped this retched demimonde was the would-be nun novice, now a flight attendant.
Certainly the god child of Pasolini, De Sica, and Rossellini, Schroeter exposes you to the Lower Depths. Even the scarlet woman at the end cannot breathe, probably a victim of tuberculosis.
On a technical note, the sound was dropped for about thirty minutes in the film’s midsection. Glad to have subtitles,,,,,
I watched in Italy when it came out, I was really young then, i loved it. I really enjoied to watch it again after so many years, it is an interesting portrait of Italy from the end of the war to the late seventies, it helps to understand the beautiful incougruities of my motherland and its anomaly that really goes back to fascism and second world war. The movie is hyper-dramatized, very theatrical, great actors, many coming from theater indeed, very interesting sound track and general use of sound. I am glad I watched it again.