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Bellocchio's sorcery couldn't entirely hide a weak plot .
5 July 2005
"La visione del Sabba" is a surrealistic tale about witchery , women , sexual desire and satisfaction . It tells the story of a young beautiful woman who has been accused of attempted murder . She is kept in a mental hospital because she claims to be a witch from the 17th century who has been waiting several centuries for the man worthy of taking away her virginity . The case is given to a young psychiatrist who soon becomes fascinated with her world of pagan pleasures and dreams . After the sight of the "Sabbath" during one of these visions , he completely falls under her witchcraft and voluntarily becomes the object of her satisfaction .

What is an interesting but vague and limited subject turns into a watchable film only thanks to Bellocchio's visual talent . The use of the metaphor of witchery to describe the sexual influence ( and power ) that women are able to exert on men it is a provocative reflection about the conventional roles in our society . But as a subject it's somehow like a candle that burns too fast and long before the end of the film it is extinguished . My impression is that the screenplay was not rich enough of ideas and twists and that this fact forced the director to over-extend many sequences , losing himself too often in a self-pleasing and sterile aesthetic ecstasy . Too often in this "Sabbath"-film we feel like the only ones who are truly having fun are the actors and the director .

Overall , it is a good provocative reflection about the power of women and how their desires and needs can make the world change . It is also a nice tale about witchery and an hymn to the pleasures of life . But it becomes too rapidly short of breath , and even through some well-directed scenes , in the second half of the story we feel like we're watching the same concept illustrated over and over again . Bellocchio showed us that he can do much better than this .
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Investigation on a movie above its notoriety .
29 June 2005
"Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sopetto" ("Investigation of a citizen above suspicion") is a surrealistic police-story directed by the Italian film-maker Elio Petri in 1970 .

A very original screenplay tells us the story of a respected police inspector who commits a crime and deliberately leaves clues just to find out how big is his reputation of "a citizen above suspicion" . The theme is developed from this single event and becomes an intelligent and provocative reflection about the concepts of authority and institution . While some could wrongly see this movie as a left-wing political one because of the way it depicts police authorities' excessive power , It is really only a fair illustration denouncing the impotence of institutions of making an impartial investigation about their own mistakes . The main theme of the movie rises up a brilliant and paradoxical question : how can the organs which administrate the "Law" condemn themselves without risking their own collapse and negation ? To this question the movie answers with the pessimistic vision that a real justice is an utopia because of human-beings' weaknesses and self-preservative nature . This brilliant reflection is developed in an highly entertaining and smoothly constructed satirical police-story : in fact the movie has an overwhelming "funny" tone especially thanks to Gian Maria Volonte' superb acting in the main role of the "fascistoid" police inspector . The ending will surprise you with the way it reveals the surrealistic nature of the whole topic .

Even if this movie was highly awarded and acclaimed at its time , (1 Oscar for Best foreign film , 1 Nomination for Best original screenplay , won Grand Prize of the Jury and Golden Palm nomination at Cannes Films Festival , 1 Golden globe nomination ) at the present days it has been criminally forgotten . I can only add that I personally consider it one of the best Italian films ever made and one of the most provocative police-stories in the last 40 years . Unfortunately it suffers of a very poor international distribution so , unless you live in Italy , it won't be easy for you to find this movie . But it doesn't matter how hard it will be , it will be worth it .
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"We live in the trenches out there. We fight. We try not to be killed, but sometimes we are. That's all. "
24 May 2005
Well , this is a true masterpiece . I won't go much in details since there already 92 comments about it . I'll just express my views . I don't understand why many critics don't see it like a top movie and why they consider "Full Metal Jacket" or "The thin red line" so superior . I mean , I love those movies but considering this was made in 1930 I think it is more or at least equally important . I am actually astonished by the fact that a pacifist , high budget , movie could be done in those years . And what style , what poetry ! The battle scenes are very realistic and still enjoyable today : probably in 1930 they had a more shocking effect than Saving private Ryan's first 20 mins have in our days . This movie is technically amazing . Some of the lines are just unforgettable and incredibly sincere . Characters are real human beings: they cry during bombings , they steal things from dead friends , they fight for bread and women . It's so ahead of its time that it's often hard to believe it : most of the scenes here became war movies clichés . Even masterpieces like Apocalypse Now , Paths of glory and the ones I already mentioned stole a lot of ideas from "All is quiet on the western front". And there's some room for humour too , it's just perfect . War movies didn't take many steps forward after this . My personal beliefs in life are not the one of a true pacifist : it's not that I think that war is good it's just that I consider it as an inevitable aspect of human behavior . This is to say that I don't fully agree with the message behind the movie . Still , if I had to choose only one anti-war movie to show to someone I'd take this one . I give this 9 on 9 which is the best on my scale since I don't use 10 nor 1 . Only 21 movies on 1052 gets that mark on my vote history , and "All is quiet ... " got that mark on first vision which is something very very rare for me .
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Cobra (1986)
A masterpiece of bad taste
14 April 2004
This is really one the worst movies ever made . First time I saw it I was 9 years old or so and it was bad at that time too . Although technically speaking it is not inferior to other bigger budget action movies this one really touches the bottom of the pit for what concerns the plot and the description of the characters . I feel at the same time disgusted and thrilled because the world of cinema has not been the same anymore after Cobra came out . I think this is so much bad that achieves the goal to entertain me . Really this could have been a movie made by Ed Wood if he was still alive in the '80s . One scene above all : Sly comes back from work , opens the fridge and starts eating an old slice of pizza cutting it with the scissors and still wearing black leather gloves . This is amazing . Really gives you an idea of what the '80s have been ..... This one truly deserves the worst rating out there ...
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An epic fable about piracy , honor and power .
1 April 2004
"Cantando dietro i paraventi" tells the story of a woman who takes the leadership of a group of pirates which was once at the orders of her dead husband . Olmi got us used to the mix of epic fable and historical tale but this time he also expresses his personal views on storytelling through an explicit use of a theatrical representation . All aspects of cinematography are at very high levels in this movie : excellent photography (the hands of Fabio Olmi are a big promise for Italian cinema) , beautiful sounds and striking dialogs even though in the Italian version the Chinese actors are not superbly dubbed . Everything is very well mixed together and the spectator truly has the feeling to live in one of those ancient oriental fables . I personally think this title doesn't achieve the formal perfection of "Il Mestiere delle armi" or "L'albero degli zoccoli" but is still very enjoyable and well made reminding me the more poetic version of Olmi that we've seen in "Il segreto del bosco vecchio". Surely one of the best movies of 2003 .
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Aliens (1986)
Alien goes to Hollywood ...(read this ONLY if you've seen the movie)
6 February 2003
Warning: Spoilers
While the story of this sequel takes place right after the end of the first episode unfortunately we can't say it also keeps the same originality and concept-quality level . Even if the film-making is highly above average action movies (Cameron is the only true Spielberg's heir) the screenplay lacks of truly new ideas and the few ones aren't very well developed . Thumb-up for Weaver's performance (like always) and for Lance Henriksen playing the Android (this time a good one) , but the rest of the troop is made by comic style-bi dimensional characters . What makes this movie worth watching anyway is Cameron's smart direction and technical knowledge , especially in the final duel scene with the Alien-queen . The sense of fear for the unknown which we found on the first episode is lost , and that obscure Gothic-style aura turned into pop-manga spectacular show . For some it could be better , not for my taste for sure . It still remains a good sequel (if sequels can ever be good) , which focuses on action instead of sensation . I'd give it **1/2 on a ***** stars max rating-scale , but watch this then run away from Alien 3 . FRIPPERTRONIC 81,Italy
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