The antiquarian Alfredo Martelli is brought to a police precinct without any explanation and interviewed by Inspector Palumbo. During the questioning, Martelli learns that his older wealthy mistress Adalgisa De Matteis was stabbed to death and he is the prime suspect. While in jail, Martelli recalls moments of his life with Adalgisa and his love affair with the young Nicoletta Nogaro.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
"L'Assassino" was Elio Petri's remarkably assured debut. It's a Kafkaesque story of a man, (Marcello Mastrioanni), under investigation for the murder of his former mistress, (Micheline Presle), The film flits back and forth between the investigation and events in Mastrioanni's past life. It's clear from the outset that what interests Petri isn't so much the prospect of making a thriller but dissecting the protagonist's way of life. This is the Italy of La Dolce Vita or at least the sweet life that was emerging for people like Mastrioanni if they could only keep themselves free of accusations of murder. This is one of his greatest performances but the film itself disappeared soon after its release and is now something of a cult film. Carlo Di Palma was responsible for the superb black and white cinematography.
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