Filmmaker Above Suspicion: Sex, Death, and Politics in the Cinema of Elio Petri, Part 2
In episode 18, Kat and Samm continue their retrospective of Italian director Elio Petri with a look at his first three color films: La decima vittima (The 10th Victim, 1965), A ciascuno il suo (We Still Kill the Old Way, 1967), and a film discussed during one of their earlier art giallo episodes, Un tranquillo posto di campagna (A Quiet Place in the Country, 1969). One of Petri’s most beloved and uniquely stylized films, The 10th Victim is a futuristic, sci-fi tale about an advanced society that redirects violence into a spectacle known as the Big Hunt, where contestants turn state sponsored murder into popular entertainment.
Much darker in style and tone is Petri’s follow up, We Still Kill the Old Way, an existential crime film that marks his first collaboration with actor Gian Maria Volontè, who stars as an unassuming professor whose friend (giallo regular Luigi Pistilli) is murdered in a Sicilian village. The only clue is a series of anonymous notes compiled from letters cut out of a local religious magazine and when the police refuse to follow this trail, the professor is determined to find the murderer’s identity. Similarly paranoid but far more oneiric is A Quiet Place in the Country, which is Petri’s only film that can really be described as a giallo, but contains all of the director’s core themes: a man in an existential crisis, emotional and financial exploitation, and tense gender dynamics.