Salvatore Giuliano. Film Review

Director: Francesco Rosi
Story: Francesco Rosi, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Enzo Provenzale, Franco Solinas
Starring: Salvo Randone, Frank Wolff
Running Time: 123 Mins
Certificate: 15
Reviewed by Guy Adams

We open on a dead body, Salvatore Giuliano the notorious ‘people’s bandit’ thriving in the uncertain climate post the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. Who killed him? Was it part of a shoot-out with the police or is something more sinister being covered up?

Rosi’s film, told in a non-linear fashion, was shot in the towns and mountains where Giuliano operated and, bar two professional actors, is peopled by Sicilians, many of whom knew Giuliano. This blur between fantasy and reality — the film is presented as dramatic narrative not documentary — and the beautiful camera-work of Gianni di Venanzo (who would shoot Fellini’s 81/2 the following year) combine to give the movie its undoubted strength.

This restored print brings the Sicilian landscape to life (appearing appropriately gloomy and foreboding in black and white) and the movie is a beautiful experience.

The disc comes with a host of special features, primarily on director Rosi (including an interview with the man himself) but also a couple of pieces centring on Giuliano including an interview with his nephew. A fascinating, beautiful portrait of a piece of history, flawlessly presented.