Giorgio er filminstruktør og bor pt. i Grækenland (www.giorgiobosisio.com)
This is not a list of favourites - I doubt I would be able to do that - but they are definitely films that I loved, that inspired me, that I found somewhat special. They are intentionally all Italian (almost): aiming to pick things people might have missed out. If I were to try to spot the thread or logic that connects them, it would be probably that sort of visual storytelling precariously hanging between social-realism, built on almost meditative observations, and that more subjective take on the world, events and characters, which get blurred on the edges by our imagination, inventions, reflections and emotions. There are no days that are just “dark” or “bright”, “good” or “bad”, there is just what we make of them, what we want to see in them and that is such a powerful tool, maybe that one special thing that makes me love this medium so much.
1. I giorni contati (His days are numbered) by Elio Petri (1962)
Italian 60s and 70s are just packed with amazing films and directors of which I suspect a good bunch are generally forgotten/ignored by the international non-cinephile audiences. So here is one: Petri. This is his second film, definitely not the most representative of his style or main subject interest, possibly one of the least famous, but a real gem of filmmaking. A stunning black and white photography, at times oneiric and broken like in a Nouvelle Vague film but then again quite realistic. A simple set up that melt into an existential metaphysical world that for some reasons smells of Pessoa’s The book of disquiet and Sartre’s The wall.
2. L’albero deli zoccoli (The tree of wooden clogs) by Ermanno Olmi (1978)
Olmi started working as a young man for Edison, a big Italian energy company, experience that inspired his wonderful debut film Il posto, a delicate cinematic poem of adolescence and love in a work place (also unmissable). Completely amateuristic and self-taught, he then slowly got into self-shooting short docs for them (40 in 8 years), filming Edison’s workmen building overhead power lines in the most dangerous, silent and isolated places. To cut it short he then ended up winning Cannes Film Festival. His films - or at least the ones I have watched - are genuine, simple, candid, heart warming little stories of those “invisible” people. His gaze is so detailed, sensitive and poetic, but never pretentious. This film was written, directed, photographed and edited entirely by Ermanno himself, working just with peasants from the Northern Italian Padan Plane. Smiles, tears, politics, poetry of course: it’s all in there. But mostly it's powerful and honest filmmaking. If I was an old grandpa I would probably say something like “THEY DON’T DO SHIT LIKE THAT ANYMORE”.
3. Mondo Cane by Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi, Paolo Cavara (1962)
Take a Vice documentary, leave the direction to Hunter S. Thompson and the narration to David Attenborough, make it political and edgy but with the cynicism and sarcasm of Slavoj Žižek, put a few acid drops in it, mix it all with the brave balls of Joshua Oppenheimer and there you go… you get a Jacopetti’s and Prosperi’s production. You could say in fact they are the forefathers of Vice's way of making films. Mondo Cane is a non-linear rollercoaster around the globe, witnessing the most shocking and surreal things of our little crazy human world. Heavily criticised (sometime rightly so), sued several times and very close to be killed while shooting Africa Addio, I think the duo is still to be praised for their cinematic inventions: yes, exploitative as fuck, but still a good damn trip through our human madness.
4. I basilischi (The lizards) by Lina Wertmüller (1963)
Lina’s life starts with a very long birth name - Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Español von Braueich -, passes through a rebellious childhood - with repeated expulsions from several Catholic schools -, a meeting with Mastroianni and then Fellini who chose her to assist him on La dolce vita and 8 1/2 and finally the first ever Academy Award given to a woman as Best Director with Pasqualino Settebellezze (Seven Beauties). It looks like she is also present in the Guinness book of Records for the longest film title (Un fatto di sangue nel comune di Siculiana fra due uomini per causa di una vedova. Si sospettano moventi politici. Amore-Morte-Shimmy. Lugano belle. Tarantella. Tarallucci e vino - brutally and unjustly shortened to Blood Feud or Revenge). Lina’s films are often quite political, flashing a light on Italian socio-economical conflicts, without being patronising and always with a very personal sensitive look and inventive imagination; maybe without that investigative empirical approach of Rosi (Francesco) and Petri, but with a definitely masterful poetic way of portraying the manifestation of a culture. I basilischi is her first film, portraying the life of three young men in south of Italy, living a quite stagnant apathetic provincial life, where timeless strolls up and down the main town avenue and the exchanges of glances with “the girls” are the only real meaningful appointments. If you speak even just a little bit of Italian, this film will makes you cry of laughter: a genius of writing.
5. Sans Soleil by C. Marker (1983)
I said all Italian movies, but I couldn’t resist to chuck this one in. For the ones that like some sort of sci-fi feel to films, but really are not that much into anything that is fabricated for it: just the world, “reality”, or a reflection of it: observed, collected, dissected and re-assembled together in such a way that subvert it all and just splices it open to reveal its essence - definitely other-worldly - and on top of that the magical words of Chris the traveller, the thinker, the poet. Another film completely written, shot, edited and even scored by its author. Unmissable.