Kat and Samm conclude their four-part series on the films of Elio Petri with a discussion of his final three features. The great Daria Nicolodi — at her most erotic — costarred in La proprietà non è più un furto (Property is No Longer a Theft, 1973), Petri’s absurdist, highly political crime film about a young man (Flavio Bucci) who is sick of being destitute and robs a well-off butcher (Ugo Tognazzi). Even more bizarre is Petri’s utterly unique follow up, Todo modo (1976), which reunited Petri with his two most important male leads, Marcello Mastroianni and Gian Maria Volontè. In this chilling drama, a political leader (a white-haired Volontè) gathers with his party and his spiritual adviser, a Catholic priest (Mastroianni), at a monastic retreat, but someone begins murdering them one by one.
Petri’s last feature film is another surreal, absurd drama Buone notizie (Good News, 1979). A downtrodden media executive (Giancarlo Giannini) struggles with a barrage of violent content in his job, strife in his married life, and political tension in the city, including assassinations and bombings — he’s also confronted by an old friend who is mentally ill. Bizarre and often bleak, but loaded with moments of comedy, Good News includes many of the themes that obsessed Petri throughout his career: a battle of sexes, changing gender roles within Italy, sexual repression, leftist political ideology, the effectiveness of terrorism, and — most of all — man in the midst of an existential crisis.
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