A landmark in political cinema, Francesco Rosi’s 1962 masterpiece marshalled the people of rural Sicily to re-enact the turbulent events that befell their region after WWII. Notorious bandit Salvatore Giuliano – fatally shot in 1950 – symbolises the turmoil of Sicily’s then-active independence movement. Giuliano’s services were called upon when it was convenient before he was abandoned.
This is no biopic, however – Giuliano is barely glimpsed. Instead, the film focuses on the fortunes of poverty-stricken Sicilians mired in neglect and corruption shaped by rivalries between Left and Right, Mafia and state, police and army. Among the most striking black-and-white movies ever made, this documentary-influenced Scorsese favourite is pulsating yet reflective, its outrage at injustice sharpened by the knowledge that Italy’s secret history of mendacity and collusion may never be fully uncovered. Place it alongside ‘The Battle of Algiers’ and ‘Z’ in the pantheon of political greats.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Francesco Rosi, Suso Checchi d'Amico, Enzo Provenzale, Franco Solinas|