Hands over the City
1963. Italy. Francesco Rosi. 105 min.
Introduced by Emiliano Morreale, Curator, Cineteca Nazionale
Friday, November 1, 2013, 5:00 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
Hands over the City
1963. Italy. Directed by Francesco Rosi. Screenplay by Rosi, Raffaele La Capria. With Rod Steiger, Salvo Randone, Guido Alberti, Marcello Cannavale. Francesco Rosi is unequalled among filmmakers in charting the Bonfire of the Vanities in postwar Italy; his legacy survives today in the films of Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) and Paolo Sorrentino (Il divo, La grande bellezza). Winner of the 1963 Venice Film Festival Golden Lion, Hands ocross the City stars Rod Steiger as Edoardo Nottola, a ruthless and unrepentant land speculator who greases the palms of Neapolitan city council members (played by their real-life counterparts) to secure a large-scale development project, and then becomes embroiled in a scandal when one of his shoddily constructed buildings collapses and kills people. A Communist council member mounts an investigation of Nottola and his right-wing party, accusing them of corruption of the highest order, but is stonewalled every step of the way. “[In his debut film, Salvatore Giuliano] Rosi had taken the immediacy of neorealism—its quasidocumentary presentation of real people, in real locations, acting out real social problems—and merged it with a Wellesian love of showmanship, melancholy, baroque contrivance, and enigma. Nowhere is this combination more outlandishly theatrical, yet absolutely authentic, than in Hands over the City, where actual members of the Naples City Council, playing themselves, in their own chamber, lift up their arms in protest to cry, ‘Our hands are clean!’…" (Stuart Klawans). Preserved by La Cineteca Nazionale. In Italian; English subtitles. 105 min.
In the Film exhibition To Save and Project: The 11th MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation
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