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About the search for an adult who pushed a classroom full of troubled teens to gang-rape and murder their female teacher. A hard-bitten Police Inspector named Liberti is put on the case and sets about brutally interrogating the young punks. He finally settles on a blond boy named Fiorello as the one most likely to squeal, but when he jumps from a rooftop, Liberti knows there is more to the teacher's murder than meets the eye. Written by
"I Ragazzi del Massacro" tells the story of the brutal rape and murder of a female teacher by the students in a classroom. The opening scene shows the teacher, the classroom and the students. There's no other sound beside the ominous soundtrack. She's is writing something on the blackboard and then we see the faces of the students. They don't seem about to start singing "To Sir with Love". We see their faces in close-up, the apprehensive look of the teacher. The scene builds to a crescendo till her rape and murder - this is not shown graphically but rather in an elliptical way. We see faces, pieces of flesh, her being undressed, the students crowding her.. Cut! In the next shot her dead body is lying naked and defenseless - it is surrounded by policemen. An investigation is about to begin.
The police detective Marco Lamberti (Pier Paolo Capponi) has to interrogate the students of the classroom to know the who, how and why. The students of this school are from the lower classes, come from reformatories, live lives in which poverty and violence are their daily companions. But police detective Lamberti is indignant - all he wishes is to crack some heads. Curiously, after the rape & murder scene, I myself was so full of anger that I felt in sympathy with the cop's indignation. It's funny! On seeing a film, I'm not the one who roots for the cops. Especially if there's a lot of finger wagging and preachiness. But "I Ragazzi del Massacro" doesn't follow the easy way - the crime is shown in all its hideousness, but we are given also brief glimpses into the lives of those students - illness, violence, hopelessness...
Lamberti has to find out who started the thing, and he can't lay a finger on the students - they are under age, and Italy, after all, is a democracy.
Lamberti is teamed up with a social worker, Livia (Nieves Navarro/Susan Scott). Justice and compassion work hand in hand to find out what happened. But make no mistake. This is not a political film in the strictest sense of the word - it's just a crime flick with a social consciousness.
What is remarkable is the honesty and crudity of "I Ragazzi del Massacro". This was very rare at the time. And even now, if the same story were told by Hollywood, it would be transformed into the usual tear-jerker - the tears would be followed by revenge and crowned by beautiful moral lessons.
The acting overall is very good - the tough but sensitive Lamberti (Pier Paolo Capponi), the students, the lovely Susan Scott as the social worker etc.. The soundtrack is a gem, it is scary and ominous without being too flashy. The story is well told and there are many surprises in store - it's not a predictable film at all! The film hooked me from the beginning to the end.
What are you waiting for? See this film if you can.
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