Cinema of Italy: The social and political movies

The student movements at the end of 1960s and those of the next decade had a strong influence in the cinema production, which in addition to the comedy, will generate a political and social genre.

In this context, new directors continue and expand the work already started years before by directors like Francesco Rosi, whose film “Salvatore Giuliano” recounts the life of the famous Sicilian outlaw in 1961. Some of the most relevant movies are “Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto” (1970) and “La classe operaia va in paradiso” (1971) by Elio Pietri, with a notable performance by Gian Maria Volontè, the screenplay adaptation of the novel by Leonardo Sciascia “Il giorno della civetta” (1967) and the following “Confessioni di un Commissario di Polizia al Procuratore della Repubblica” (1971), by Damiano Damiani.

But perhaps the apex of this denounce driven genre is “Il caso Mattei” (1972), an investigation movie in which the director Francesco Rosi tries to make light on the mysterious disappearance of Enrico Mattei, manager of the most important Italian state-run enterprise, ENI. The movie won the Cannes Palm d’or and became a model for analogous movies in the coming decades (starting with “JFK” by Oliver Stone).

Although not strictly tied to the actual reality of Italy it is important to mention “La battaglia di Algeri” by Gillo Pontecorvo (1966), a powerful re-enactment of civil and military events that brought Algeria to independence from the French colonialism. Pontecorvo’s movie, Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, has become one the most known and celebrated Italian movies in the world.

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