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The Spider's Stratagem (1970)

Strategia del ragno (original title)
A man returns to the place where his father was murdered and tries to find closure. But he finds himself in a similar predicament as his late father instead.

Writers:

Jorge Luis Borges (story "Tema del traidor y del héroe") (as J.L. Borges), Bernardo Bertolucci | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Giulio Brogi ... Athos Magnani, father and son
Alida Valli ... Draifa
Pippo Campanini Pippo Campanini ... Gaibazzi
Franco Giovanelli Franco Giovanelli ... Rasori
Tino Scotti Tino Scotti ... Costa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Allen Midgette ... Sailor
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Storyline

Athos Magnani, a young researcher, returns to Tara, where his father was killed before his birth, at the request of Draifa. The father, also named Athos Magnani and looking exactly like the son, was killed by a fascist in 1936 -- or so says Draifa (his mistress), the town statue, and everyone in town. As the son untangles the web of lies this story is constructed from, he finds himself ensnared in the same web. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From Bernardo Bertolucci, the creator of "Before the Revolution," "The Conformist" and "Last Tango in Paris"

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

27 March 1973 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Spider's Stratagem See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The short story "Tema del traidor y del héroe" (Theme of the Traitor and the Hero) by Jorge Luis Borges, that this film is based on, was set in nineteenth-century Ireland and was only 2 pages long. See more »

Quotes

Athos Magnani, father and son: You will not kill me. Even a dead traitor is damaging. A hero is more useful. A hero, whom people can love. I shall be basely murdered by a Fascist. We'll offer the spectacle of a dramatic death to seize people's imagination so they will continue to hate more and more Fascism.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Giornata nera (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Attila
Written by Giuseppe Verdi
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Guessing the future Bertolucci
19 August 2003 | by RResendeSee all my reviews

I found interesting to watch this movie since I noticed in it some characteristics that were to be strongly noticed in later films, such as the pleasure for the beauty of the composition (every image caught by the camera is very carefully thought before, considering all the elements in it, from a mirror to a chair, to a flower pot; and also studying its position, wheter the person speaking should be in the center or not, distances, etc.). Bertolucci has also put, I think so at least, a lot of time in this details (which marks a difference from other filming methodes such as those of, let's say, Godard, even though both are worth watching), which grant the film a great artistic quality, since it is very beautiful. I also see in this film the tendency for mixing stories in different times (remember the last emperor?).

A part from this observations, this film has a story to be followed, not as intriguing or as fascinating as others... but still worthy to reflect on. Even though this is a political film, that's not even subtle or hidden, the main theme of this one is, in my point of view, the creation of myths, the creation of heros, idols... Fernando Pessoa, a portuguese poet, said that a myth is "a nothing which is everything". This film confirms it. Athos Magnani, the father, is an absolute nothing, despite his pseudo idealism, he made nothing in concrete except... becoming the hero of those people, except becoming one more reason for the fight. Even though he was admired for that, he wasn't particularly smart... just a bit more educated, and he just saw the chance of immortality... in his death. This is a myth, and myths, at least like this, only exist if people believe them.

Beautiful landscapes, not spectacular acting (the actor who plays both athos Magnani is not exceptionaly convincing as the son but gives an interesting performance as the father). Also a good use of the non original music especially the excerpts from Il Rigolletto. I too enjoyed that the director resisted to the temptation of showing exactly the murdering; he did it in a better way. All this and a Bernardo Bertolucci starting to reveal all he would become.


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