La pacifista – Smetti di piovere (1970)

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La pacifista – Smetti di piovere: Directed by Miklós Jancsó. With Monica Vitti, Pierre Clémenti, Peter Pasetti, Piero Faggioni. A journalist is preparing a story on extremist youth and falls in love with a young radical who fears being killed by his companions when he is unable to commit a political assassination.

“As Iu0026#39;d written in previous reviews for other Jancsou0026#39; films, I had missed out on an opportunity to watch this one on late-night Italian TV; given that the first edition of the Italian DVD itself is out-of-print and also in view of the fact that Iu0026#39;ve recently acquired a number of the directoru0026#39;s works on disc, I opted to add it to my DVD collection now rather than wait for another broadcast of the film (which, for all I know, might never happen!).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eTypically for Jancsou0026#39;, very little was available to me on the printed page except for a succinct entry on Marco Giustiu0026#39;s u0026quot;Starcultu0026quot; guide wherein he describes the film as being, u0026quot;…frightfully enjoyable…ridiculous… exasperating…sincere…(it was) totally rejected at the timeu0026quot;. In any case, having now made a fair idea of what the Hungarian directoru0026#39;s style is all about (albeit this being his first of four films made in Italy) – plus the fact that Iu0026#39;ve watched a few of the u0026quot;Political Revolutionu0026quot; films made in the wake of the famous May 1968 events (of which THE PACIFIST is an example) – I knew more or less what to expect from it. Thankfully, the film is short enough at 83 minutes (and sparked by occasional humor) not to become overly oppressive – since, needless to say, itu0026#39;s rather hard-tack as entertainment: obviously didactic in nature to begin with but also considering Jancsou0026#39;u0026#39;s customary (i.e. curiously aloof) approach to things! u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eFor marquee value, it features two popular names and faces of the era – Monica Vitti and Pierre Clementi; the latteru0026#39;s characteristic mix of arrogance and earthiness is ideal for this environment (in fact, he had already appeared in Bernardo Bertolucciu0026#39;s similar but even more opaque PARTNER [1968])…but Vitti seems ill-at-ease with the demands of the leading role. She plays a TV reporter who becomes involved with revolutionary-bum Clementi: at first, he seems to be stalking her – and, being afraid, reports him to the police; however, when heu0026#39;s caught and brought before her for identification, she claims it was somebody else! After this, she invites him to live with her but, before long, his companions turn up, admonishing him for having balked from doing his duty (among them is Daniel Olbrychski who, curiously enough, goes uncredited here: for the record, the Polish actor appeared in two other Jancsou0026#39; films – AGNUS DEI [1970], which I havenu0026#39;t watched, and ROME WANTS ANOTHER CAESAR [1974]). Clementi was supposed to kill a man as a sure sign of his devotion to the u0026#39;causeu0026#39; – and, for failing to deliver on his promise, his former friends offer him a way out by playing at Russian roulette! Vitti leaves intent on setting the law after them but, on arriving at Police Headquarters, the Commissioner takes her for a neurotic!; by then, Clementi has been executed regardless – and, noticing that Olbrychski has followed her there, Vitti shoots him (thus causing a commotion).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI have to say, though, that one of the reasons Vittiu0026#39;s performance feels artificial is due to the fact that her distinctively plaintive voice is inexplicably dubbed on the Alan Young R2 DVD edition I watched! I know that the custom in Italian cinema at the time was to shoot without sound and then recreate the dialogue track later in the studio…but, ironically, Vitti can still be heard on the trailer!! Considering that the print was reportedly culled from the original negative, I wonder whether the u0026#39;re-dubbingu0026#39; was done prior to the filmu0026#39;s original release – rather than newly re-recorded specifically for the digital format (as had been the case with, say, the Italian DVD I rented not too long ago of Mario Bavau0026#39;s HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON [1970]).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eFor what itu0026#39;s worth, THE PACIFIST is notable for a few inventively-deployed sets (Vittiu0026#39;s home is enveloped by windows as if it were a glass showroom, ditto for a derelict church turned into an impromptu display for the newest fashion in cars) and a score by Giorgio Gaslini which even includes a couple of pop songs – one of these (translating to u0026quot;Stop Rainingu0026quot;), incidentally, was adopted on its home ground as a subtitle to the film itself.”


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