Spaghetti westerns honored at BIFF
By Natalie Bochenski
Nov. 18, 2012
Lovers of spaghetti westerns have a smorgasbord of choice at the Brisbane International Film Festival.
This past Sunday November 18, saw back-to-back screenings of The Man with No Name trilogy – A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – from midday at the Palace Centro cinemas.
They're famous for making the movie career of the young Clint Eastwood. But curator Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan says he wasn't initially aware of how popular A Fistful of Dollars had become.
“He didn't think much of them. He was a TV actor in the states, he got the script and decided he was going to go and do this strange film," he says.
“Then the film didn't come out in America for a year after Italy, so he didn't realize how successful it had been.”
An Italian-born cinema scholar and current U.S. programmer for the Venice Film Festival, Vallan has flown into Brisbane for the 21st BIFF to present a program of 14 films on her specialist subject. It's a cut-down version of the program she presented at the New York City Film Forum earlier this year.
Spaghetti westerns came out of primarily Italian (but also Spanish and French) production houses in the 1960s and early 1970s. The people behind them were inspired by the classic era of American westerns.
“Under the Mussolini dictatorship, American cinema could not make it legally to Italy, so after the war when the borders were open again, it was this huge invasion the greatest American films,” Vallan says.
The man behind The Man With No Name, Sergio Leone, is the most famous director of spaghetti westerns, and his work has inspired a generation of modern filmmakers – including John Carpenter, John Landis and Quentin Tarantino.
Vallan says spaghetti westerns are known for their inclusion of far bloodier violence in comparison to US westerns.
“I think the spaghetti westerns are wilder, they're more extreme, more gothic,” she says.
But given the era in which they emerged, they often have a political bent.
For ultra-violence and many strange ways to die, Ms Vallan recommends “Django” and the unrelated “Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!”.
She also lists “The Big Gundown” and “Once Upon a Time in the West” as other classic picks.
Schedule link http://tix.biff.com.au/browseAtt5.asp?g=15&a=296