Thursday, September 3, 2009

Picture perfect moment

When Sergio Corbucci was asked what he thought about the political messages some of his colleagues had in their movies he said that “there is nothing political about the Italian Western”, yet one can’t help but wonder about his sincerity when watching Django with the ‘Colonel’ and his henchmen looking suspiciously like fascists.
Corbucci himself says about the mask they wear that Django had such a late casting that he only got the leftovers as supporting cast, men so hideous he had to hide their faces.
And maybe that is all there is to it, and we just happen to see the veiled political statement that we want to. Because one thing is for sure, Corbucci had never much use for subtlety in his movies.

Enzo G. Castellari was Italy’s Sam Peckinpah. A fact that can be best observed in Keoma, here he took his death ballet approach the farthest and combines it with a rough driving score that narrates the movie and gives it a very literal Horse Opera feeling.
He uses a refined style over story approach with this movie, which is not to say that the movie doesn’t have a story, it just takes a far second place with primary attention put on carefully choreographed violence and Castellari’s inventive use of camera.

Both in their personal ways explored and defined the borders of the Italian Western myths, with Corbucci putting the focus on defining the characters and ultimately succeeding in reducing them to their essentials in Il Grande Silenzio and Castellari showing a clear preference for style and iconography. Castellari never managed to put forward a equally defining work as Corbucci but he got close with Keoma, which while being far from polished makes for a perfect style study.

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