The Taviani brothers are known for their humanistic and "neo-realistic" approach of film-making, using non-professional actors, location shoots, natural lighting and special attention given to "the people" as protagonists. Their cinema can be qualified as "political", since most of their films deal with abuse of power, corruption, poverty, but also suffering.
Highly political indeed, "The Subversives" ("I Sovversivi") which the Taviani brothers directed in 1967 is nevertheless quite different from "Padre Padrone" and "La notte di San Lorenzo". The film combines actual footage of a Communist leader's funeral, Palmiero Togliatti (who died in 1964), with the story of four people for whom the death marks a major turning point in their political futures. The film takes an episodic approach to chronicle the different effects the leader's death has upon these people. As the four stories intermingle, we follow Ettore, a Venezuelan radical who abandons the wealthy Italian woman he loves to go back to his country and help his cause, Ludovico, an ailing filmmaker who finds out that art alone is not enough, Giulia, a woman who embarks upon a lesbian affair with a former mistress of her husband (who happens to be a leader of the Italian Communist party), and Ermanno, a philosophy graduate who breaks up with his past.
"I Sovversivi", which documents the crisis of the Italian left wing after the death of Togliatti through these characters, is not really a must-see, but a watchable film for all those who like Elio Petri's late stuff and Pasolini political films. The others may find this talkative film a bit boring or hard to identify with, especially if you don't know anything about contemporary Italian/European politics.
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