Bertolucci's precipitous decline into political and aesthetic misjudgments (signalled by parts of Last Tango and confirmed by long stretches of 1900) shouldn't make anyone forget that his intelligence, erotic sensibility, and wit once made him the only Italian director comparable to Pasolini. Made after The Conformist and showing Bertolucci at the height of his powers, The Spider's Stratagem transposes a Borges short story to the Po Valley in Italy, introduces a dazzling density of cultural references, and remains thrilling and extraordinary. Athos Magnani (Brogi) returns to his home town, where the defacement of the memorial to his father (a hero of '36) sets him on the trail of the truth about his parent; the world he explores is full of mysteries, omens, ambiguities, and signs of incipient madness, and it resolves itself into a riddle that is the cinema's richest homage to all that's remarkable in Borges.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Bernardo Bertolucci, Eduardo de Gregorio, Marilù Parolini|