A uniquely modern film, a lucid and fierce reflection on money being the centre of everything
Ugo Tognazzi at the height of his sublime wickedness, Flavio Bucci at the height of his hallucinatory paranoia
A mix of grotesque comedy, expressionism and Brechtian theatre, one of the masterpieces of a great auteur of world cinema
Of the many films that deal with the subject of money and greed, this is without doubt the most relentlessly unsparing. In Elio Petri’s at once lucid and hallucinatory vision, the pursuit of profit is the fulcrum of human alienation, a blind alley that leads to selfishness and envy between the classes, with everyone doomed to suffer the same fate: in the end, no difference exists between the middle classes and the working classes. Both have been corrupted by the same disease known as property: I possess therefore I am. Petri’s message is unceasing in the film’s grotesque comedy, strongly influenced by expressionism and the theatre of Brecht, resulting in a world that explodes in schizophrenic splinters. A uniquely modern film, supported by the wonderful performances of Ugo Tognazzi, at the height of his wickedness, and Flavio Bucci, at the height of his paranoid madness.
A young bank worker with an allergy to money wages war against those who consider wealth to be the meaning of life. His target is a butcher obsessed with money, who he starts stealing from. After trying in vain to pay off the young man, the persecuted butcher ends up strangling him.
The film was digitally restored from the original negatives by Cineteca di Bologna and Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino, in collaboration from Titanus. The restoration work was carried out in 2013 by L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, and subsequently won the Venice Classics Award for Best Restored Film at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.