A solid and innovative debut ready to be rediscovered
One of the most intense and personal films on the controversial theme of insanity
In the early 1960s, Titanus undertook an initiative to promote young Italian film-makers (bringing international recognition to such directors as Ermanno Olmi, Vittorio De Seta and Valerio Zurlini). Among this group, Alfredo Giannetti (screenwriter for Elio Petri) did not manage to stand out from the crowd. But based on this film, his directorial debut, it seems that he deserves to be rediscovered. It is one of the most intense and personal films to deal with the controversial subject of insanity, set in a backdrop of urban poverty, showing the cynical voyeurism of the “sane” and looking at the crisis of the traditional family unit. The whole cast provides excellent and intense performances, especially Tomas Milian in the role of a disturbed young man. Commenting on the innovative nature of the film, historian Stefania Parigi notes that: “the director’s gaze rarely focuses on the perspective of the person suffering from psychological disorders, but rather on the reactions of the characters that come into contact with his suffering, rage and helplessness.”
A young man suffering from psychological problems lives with his family in a low-income housing complex. The situation becomes unbearable for those around him. Following yet another stay in an institution, his mother decides to take him to Vienna for treatment. But the young man’s problems show no sign of improving and tragedy becomes inevitable.