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Near the Tiber river, in a Roman park, a prostitute was killed. The police tracks down people that were inside the park during that night. They are questioned and have to explain why they were there. One of them is the killer. Written by
Chris Abbenhuis <email@example.com>
If not quite a great film, an impressive and audacious debut
Bertolucci, while a cinephile, had spent very little time on actual movie sets before making this film at age 21.
It's a Rashomon like exploration of the murder of a prostitute. We see various men being questioned by police in a stylized way we never see the questioner, only the witness, sitting in a pool of harsh light. We hear the man begin to tell what he did or saw on the fateful day, while cutting to images of his actual experience, often at odds with what we hear him telling the police. By the end of the film we get a picture of what happened that night for each of these men and the woman who was killed. Beautifully photographed,, with a strong sense of composition, it's a pretty strong little film.
There are weak spots; the acting is variable at best, in a few cases cringe-inducingly over the top. Also, much of the dialogue was evidently post recorded, so even though the actors are Italians speaking Italian, their mouths are sometimes out of sync with their voices, and the dialogue often has a tinny artificial quality.
But quibbles aside, the film has a haunting quality that marks the start of a great film- maker's career, and makes this well worth seeing.
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