La Cina è vicina (China Is Near). 1967. Italy. Directed by Marco Bellocchio. In Italian; English subtitles. 107 min.
Screenplay by Elda Tattoli, Marco Bellocchio. With Glauco Mauri, Elda Tattoli, Paolo Graziosi. The powerful follow-up to Bellocchio’s debut proves that a trenchant critique of bourgeoisie buffoonery and the social ambitions of the working class, combined with clichéd Western assimilation of political movements in a completely corrupt political system, is plenty comical in the hands of a master satirist. This beautiful black-and-white film gleefully exposes the sorry moral and financial state of three siblings who each try to con their way through life with no particular passion or knowledge, but with the lofty goal of keeping their privileged position. They are abetted by the egotistical squabbling of the working-class friends and foes around them, endlessly scheming in love and (class) war.