A man opens fire on the statue of the Virgin during the 15th August procession. Barricaded in his home with his wife and daughter, he continues to shoot wildly. He refuses to open the door to the carabinieri and he ref...展开uses everything he needs, including water.
In the turn of the 1960’s and 70’s Italian cinema was probably the best in the world. The greatest names of many generations, starting with the pioneers of neorealism, were all functioning together and overlapped, creating a unique impression. The scale ranged from the richness of popular film – italowestern, horror, a local style of noisy comedy – to various forms of avantgarde. Gian Vittorio Baldi, born in Bologne in 1930, is one of the crucial names of this era: a highly personal director and producer, a man in the midst of radical documentary, experimental films and fiction.
Baldi’s backround is a combination of the knowledge of the traditions of documentary and on the other hand the mentality and power of an avantgardist. The short films he directed between 1958 and 1961 – include Il pianto delle zitelle (1958) and La casa delle tredici vedove (1960) – received many significant awards and blend a uniquely firm documentary approach with cinematographic poetry. Both films won the best short film prize at the Venice Film Festival.
One of the reasons Baldi is an extraordinary avantgardist and a trail blazer is his boldness to use all the possibilities of direct sound; in his own country he was a kind of a bridge builder between original Italian neorealism (first and foremost the modernism of Rossellini) and the new wave films of the 1960’s. Sound is only one aspect but vitally important. Baldi’s films are about real people, who have been ”wounded by history” – he shows the culture and life of the people from the inside, as an intimate experience and tries to capture on film and make real the inner feeling of popular culture.
Baldi’s first (fiction) features are Luciano – Una vita bruciata (1961) and Fuoco! (1968), two films that in a way carry on the earlier experiences. Fuoco! – one of the central Italian films of its time – will now be seen in Finland for the very first time. The film was shot in 14 days, in a chronological order, in 16 mm film and using the possibilities of direct sound, with as little technical gimmicks as possible. The subject is fascinating: a bloodbath that begins without any logical explanation. As the film develops, it deepens into a metaphor of power and the rage of killing in society, that has apparently lost its senses altogether. The theme of the film is rebellion but so is also the way with which it has been made: the camera is obsessed, the chaos is being organised by the repeated and systematic camera movements. The film is also an essay about watching and, in the 1960’s manner, commitment.
As a free producer Baldi is a totally amazing phenomenon. How can it be possible that the one and same man produces the three most important key films of the era in three different countries: Jean-Marie Straub’s German film The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, Robert Bresson’s Four Nights of a Dreamer and some of the most important works of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s stern and searching career – the fiction film Pigsty and the great embodiment of the pasolinian essay form, ”The African Orestes”.
In those days European cinema was living a uniquely fascinating phase as a ”concerto” of different countries, and one of the keys to this time of wisdom and limitless imagination, that now seems to be completely lost, were the great producer personalities – the types like Gian Vittorio Baldi. (Peter von Bagh - Midnight Sun Film Festival, Finland)