Auteur Obscure: Fernando Di Leo - MISTER SCARFACE

1976, Italy/West Germany, 88 min., 35mm.

"One of the first films I watched was pivotal to my choice of profession. It was MISTER SCARFACE. I had never even heard the name Fernando Di Leo before. I just remember that after watching that film I was totally hooked. I became obsessed and started systematically watching other films directed by Di Leo. I owe so much to Fernando in terms of passion and filmmaking". - Quentin Tarantino

 
Casual brutality alternates with vulgar comedy in one of the most entertaining Italian crime movies ever made, as should be expected from Fernando Di Leo, the grand master of the form. Di Leo was fundamentally a story man, he wrote or script-doctored many of the very best spaghetti westerns. As an architect of convoluted revenge scenarios he had no peer. Di Leo is also a comic brutalist, and the sick strain of humor that runs through his films can also be seen in the work of his acolyte Quentin Tarantino.

In MISTER SCARFACE Jack Palance plays a bad, bad man who runs a neighborhood crime syndicate in Rome. But when a series of small outrages escalates to an all-out war he proves no match for a couple of slacker kids (Fassbinder regular Harry Baer and Al Cliver) with a dune buggy, and an over-the-hill consigliere (the great Vittorio Caprioli, of Godard's TOUT VA BIEN) who still remembers the old days and the old ways.

While not a comedy as such, this film contains more laugh out loud scenes than all but the very best comedies. But it also delivers shocking, intense violence and a pungent ambience redolent of sleazy pool halls and greasy hair tonic. This is working class, wildly entertaining pulp art. (Lars)


SCREENING INFO

Thursday, May 16, 7:30 PM
AFS at The Marchesa
(6226 Middle Fiskville Rd.)

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