Tuesday, 17 March 2009

"The world doesn't exist."

Addio, fratello crudele (1971, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi)

A beautiful, painterly film, shrouded in mist and haze and dappled in soft light, with a Jodorowsky-like, hallucinatory mysticism. The Financial Times review justly referred the cinematography to Michelangelo and Titian, but one might also compare it to the sinewy richness of Caravaggio. Truly, Giovanni in the well is Christ on the cross. The only disappointment is Ennio Morricone's music, which for, most of the film, lacks the arresting strangeness of other contemporary scores of his, such as those for Chi l'ha vista morire? or Gli Occhi freddi della paura, and sounds closer to the bucolic classicism of later Hollywood films, such as The MissionUntil, that is, we reach almost the very end of the film, and one of the strangest, most poetic scenes in a very strange and poetic film. As a great black dog sniffs around a dining room full of corpses and splattered in blood, a delicately haunting solo flute melody starts up, twisting and turning around an absent tonal centre, reserved yet softly unsettling. The flute's limpid breathiness should not be mistaken for the beatific sigh of souls rising to heaven, but rather the quiet terror of an empty, godless universe.