La Commare Secca (1962)

BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

Alternate title:  The Grim Reaper

Italy, 1962.  Cinematografica Cervi, Cineriz.  Story by , Screenplay by Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

A Roman prostitute is found murdered in the park and the police are at a loss as to who could have done it. Rounding up a group of young men who were in the park at the same time that she was working there, they interview the suspects to find out exactly what they were doing the evening the woman died. The overall effect is meant to be a Rashomon-like spiderweb plot that never really takes off; too much of what the boys do has nothing to do with the crime, and the eventual revelation as to what really happened has very little to do with the scenes leading up to it. Still, even though the story lacks punch, first-time director Bernardo Bertolucci (only 22 at the time) displays a masterful eye for shot compositions, pace, and realistic performances.

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