|Classic Cinema Club Ealing|
Lights, Camera, Action - films for September
A small rural village in Emilia-Romagna is the battleground where the Catholic priest and Communist mayor exchange insults, punches and gunfire in a series of amusing attempts to wrest influence over the locals.
A gang of petty criminals dare to plan a heist – but their toughest obstacle is their own insurmountable ineptitude, and they shine in this character-driven film where familiar faces of Italian cinema act against the slums of Rome and a jazz score. The plot parodies straight crime films like ‘Rififi’ and ‘The Asphalt Jungle’. The director was a beacon who brought ‘la commedia italiana’ to the big screen and insisted on mining desperation, tragedy and misery to find hope through laughter.
An event held to honour a retiring fireman descends into utter chaos in this Czech New Wave masterwork, filmed in a Communist Palace of Culture in a mountain village, with an amateur cast populated entirely by the real inhabitants and volunteer firefighters. The authorities suspected it was straying too far into satire, and its national release was delayed until the Prague Spring, and afterwards was “banned forever” while the director faced criminal charges. He moved to the USA where he would make ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Amadeus’
3rd July 2012