Friday, 13 March 2015

Fulci Centi

I've seen various online tributes to Lucio Fulci today, marking the anniversary of his death, 19 years missed today. With that in mind I wanted to catch one of his films, but preferably not one of his signature works, perhaps something a little off the beaten track such as Perversion Story or Beatrice Cenci - two Fulci films I've had waiting in the wings for ages now but so far have not gotten around to seeing. I said a little off the beaten track - I'm looking thru Fulci's filmography now and any completist would have his work cut out tracking down the director's entire oeuvre. I counted 16 titles from 1959 onwards before I hit the first film of Fulci's I'm acquainted with, the 1966 western Massacre Time. Similarly, I've been lax on my post-Conquest Fulci too - all titles I know by name but have yet to investigate...

And so today it was the turn of Beatrice Cenci, Fulci's 1969 historical drama. This was my first time seeing the film and I was hugely impressed - the deft balance between lucid story-telling (the film based on actual events from 16th century Italy), and a surprisingly sophisticated chronological structure, would make it a fine rebuttal against naysayers who balk at the director's feverish, irrational Horror films of the early 80's. The film is perhaps closer in style and execution to Don't Torture A Duckling - there's not much in the way of explicit gore, but neither does the film flinch from the brutality of the age (one character has a nail plunged into, where else, his eye!), and Fulci laces the carnage with a sense of outrage at the hypocrisy and decadence of the ruling classes and the ease at the which they cannibalize even their own. Required viewing.

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