We don’t watch Elio Petri’s films. We risk finding ourselves less beautiful

I do not follow TV and the media in general, however these days I have not heard any mention of Elio Petri born Heraclius, who died forty years ago, on November 10, 1982, at the age of 53. He was one of the greatest directors that Italy has ever had, winner, among others, of an Oscar, a Palme d’Or, a David di Donatello and a Silver Bear, yet he is dead and forgotten, disappeared. from the mouth and memory of our country.

Human, too human, and therefore too annoying, off axis with respect to the dominant ideology of the epoch averse to any kiss of the hand and absolution, even to the left to which he also belonged. He was guilty of representing in a stupendously ferocious way the compulsions of each of us, participating in a capitalist society eaten up and overwhelmed by the obsession with power, with work to get to power, and with the desire for money. To do so, he has also upset famous actors in unpublished parts, under the direction of him Mastroianni is not the eternal handsome Marcello but the “bad priest“Who demolishes the DC and Aldo Moro predicting their death, and Ciccio Ingrassia from a sad speck turns into a tragic character: he could not do anything about Gian Maria Volonté and Salvo Randoneeclectic and superb of them.

They never give Petri films, but even if they do, we will still not watch them. They hurt, every film is a punch in the stomach, it causes us a great annoyance, almost a retching, it slams our neuroses in our face in a ferocious way, deformed in the cruel grotesque. Petri does not make investigative films like Rosi, stopping on a very respectable historical level, no. Petri goes straight into the personal, into the soul of each of us, show our worst sidetears us to pieces and throws them in our faces, with their load of hypocrisy and malice.

He is a shaman, investigate and rummage the unconscious (or the soul, as you prefer). The diagnosis is merciless and perfect, the cure is bitter. L’Aldo Moro of Todo Modo is destined to die: the “bad priest”Mastroianni, and so it will happen, in the film as in reality, only two years later. The Lulù Massa worker disliked by his colleagues because scab and piecework fanatic, he repents and puts himself at the head of the workers in the struggle for their rights, but will give enormous annoyance to the unions, who find themselves expropriated of their hegemony and will fight him: in short, a brave merciless in the face of power and its injustices, of any color, fully immersed in its time, and firmly ignored by its time and times to come.

If we don’t want to think, reflect, feel discomfort, go beyond the chimera of power and money to keep them and enjoy them as neuroses, let’s not watch Elio Petri’s films. We run the serious risk of finding ourselves much less beautiful than we think (or pretend) to be. Moreover, if he has broken the balls to politics, the Church, the judiciary, the average citizen, without being accused of indifference (or populism, nowadays), there will be a reason.

They never give Petri movies, but even if it were, let’s not watch them, they lay bare Power and Money, the only things that intoxicate us, to the point of believing that we are citizens above all suspicion, and thinking that even the working class can go to heaven. There are so many great entertainment programs on TV, why spoil our evening? After all, he was perfectly aware of it, “People know enough about his unhappiness and don’t want to hear about it. He wants to have fun“.

Lots of dialogues / monologues to mark, I carry a couple of them, lacerating: the words alone do not make as much as the superb interpretations of the protagonists, but we are satisfied:

In Investigation of a citizen above suspicionan extraordinary Volontè (who plays a reactionary police commissioner guilty of murdering a woman) indicates to a hundred representatives of the police the path to follow for justice, which must tend to repress and not re-educate: “Under every criminal a subversive can hide and under every subversive a criminal can hide. […] The use of freedom threatens the traditional powers, the established authorities, the use of freedom which tends to make any citizen a judge, which prevents us from freely carrying out our sacrosanct functions. We are guarding the law, which we want immutable, engraved in time. The people are minors, the city is sick: others have the task of healing and educating, we have the duty to repress! REPRESSION IS OUR VACCINE! REPRESSION IS CIVILIZATION!“.

In Todo Modo an unprecedented and sensational Marcello Mastroianni, in the role of priest, addresses a group of parliamentarians probably Christian Democrats, headed by Moro-Volonté, who gathered in a secret structure for spiritual exercises: “Your hands, look at them … The power they hold is burning them. Yes it’s burning them! Sin does not exist if there is no power to exercise it. You have the power and you do not limit your power and sin! But how long do you think you have it left? Power kills! He has already killed! […]“, To finish with the accusations directed personally to Moro-Volontè:”You are like your constituents: cynical and ferocious. Follow your mandate to the end … We’ll all fall together! You, with your rich impostors who keep you in government only to protect them from the poor … Me with my stupid flock of innocent sinners just waiting for the viaticum for the other world …“. Fine, The end. Forgotten by everyone but not by history, which continues to prove him right.

We don’t watch Elio Petri’s films. We risk finding ourselves less beautiful – Socialbg