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Home / Podcasts / Daughters of Darkness Podcast / Filmmaker Above Suspicion: Sex, Death, and Politics in the Cinema of Elio Petri, Part 3

Filmmaker Above Suspicion: Sex, Death, and Politics in the Cinema of Elio Petri, Part 3


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Kat and Samm continue their in-depth investigation of Italian filmmaker Elio Petri, this time focusing on two of his collaborations with actor Gian Maria Volonté: his most famous film, Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto (Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, 1970), and his most overtly political, La classe operaia va in paradiso (The Working Class Goes to Heaven aka Lulu the Tool, 1971). Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion stars Petri as a high-ranking detective who murders his mistress just to prove to himself that he can get away with the crime — even if the evidence stacking up against him is right under the nose of the police department. A masterpiece of political and personal paranoia, it focuses on one of Petri’s most beloved themes: man in an existential crisis.

He would use the same theme for The Working Class Goes to Heaven, which again stars Volonté, but in a completely different kind of role. His character, Lulu, is the perfect cog in the industrialist machine — a top worker in a rural factory — but an accident leaves him questioning his place in the world. His wife leaves him and he joins up with a group of protesters, but he can’t figure out what he has been working so hard towards — or what he is even fighting for as a political agitator, leading to a surreal, downbeat conclusion.

Don’t forget to please order a copy of the next issue of Diabolique Magazine in print here.

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