Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:04 am 
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Marco Ferreri: A neglected Italian cinematic original

The direcor of La Grande Bouffe cut off an interviewer who asked him if he'd like to be rememered as a social critic or a visionary with "I don't want to be remembered at all." This documentary by Anselma dell"Olio points in the opposite direction, toward bringing him renewed recognition. While Fellini, Rossellini, Vinconti, De Sica et al. were recognized as masters, Ferreri (1928-1997) was an offbeat artist who did not seek a reputation as one of the great ones. He was an iconoclast, and original. In the world of Italian culture that seeks smoothness and good taste, Ferreri particularly stands out because he didn't try to fit in. Unfortunately, his unique work has been forgotten. This film acts as a corrective.

Dell'Olio is a film critic who also worked on set with Ferreri as a dialogue coach and adapter. She organizes the film by topics like film, food, flesh, eschewing a conventional voiceover, in order to give Ferreri the kind of presentation he deserves as a true original.

Roberto Benigni fitly praised and described Ferreri early on in a poem capitalizing on the filmmaker's short rotund look to describe him as a clown. Benigni starred in Ferreri's kindergarten comedy Seeking Asylum. Ferreri himself sometimes described himself as a "buffoon director." Ferreri worked a lot with notable French cinema figures - composer Philippe Sarde, actors Annie Girardot, Gérard Depardieu and Michel Piccoli. His father was a banker. Ferreri gave up his original plan of becoming a veterinarian but retained his love of animals, and humans' relationship with them, as reflected in The Ape Woman (included in the Open Roads Lincoln Center series his year, and to be covered here), and Bye Bye Monkey, about the discovery of the corpse of King Kong on a New York Beach. Sarde is heard from here as well as the director Radu Mihaileanu, the production designer Dante Ferretti, and Cahiers du Cinéma authority Serge Toubiana.

Sarde talks about Ferreri as a refined and delicate filmmaker, and we learn how he wa the favorite of the likes of Ornelia Buti and Anreaa Ferreol. He was able to engage Mastroianni, Tognazzi, Piccoli, and Philippe Noiret in his works.

Dell'Olio links Ferreri with Buñuel, Fassbinder and Pasolini as "archangels of destruction of resurrection." With this in mind, he is an Italian writer-director we need to know more about.

Marco Ferreri: Dangerous But Necessary/La lucida follia di Marco Ferreri, 77 mins, debuted at Venice 2017, where it was covered by Deborah Young in a Hollywood Reporter review. See also the summery for a 30 Jan. 2018 showing by New York Transatlantic, which gives further details. It was screened at Open Roads: New Italian Cinema in an evening of recognition of the forgotten director. Showtime: Showtimes June 5 -6:30 PM (Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center). This film is not currently i listed on IMDb. For her work with Ferreri the director is is listed there as Selma Dell'Olio.

©Chris Knipp. Blog:

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