Click here to learn the story.
|Window card for the pre-release edition||Poster with a revised title. Look carefully, and youll see that the title is a paste-over. The little bit of the original o that peeks out from behind might not be the final letter of mondo; it might be the final letter of a title that was never used: Chi lavora è maledetto.||Lorenzo Nistris poster design for In capo al mondo. |
See below for the printed version.
(Reproduced courtesy of the Painted Cinema)
One of the posters. The red quadrangle was sprayed over with a new title for the general release, but you can still make out the original title beneath.
Its on DVD now in Russia, under the original title of In capo al mondo = To the Ends of the Earth = На вершине мира. Despite the title, it is the censored Chi lavora è perduto version, entirely in black and white. Mysteriously, the sound is terribly out of sync. Available from azuro.ru Мультимедиа. Also available at ozon.ru and at DVDDOM.ru and at odvd.ru and at СмотиДома.ru and at DVD-Video Интернет Магазин and at Интернет-Магазин DVD and at DVD video and at BLUEREY.ru and probably a whole bunch of other places too. As you can see, its double-billed with a much more recent Italian feature, Salvatore Piscicellis Alla fine della notte (To the End of the Night), with Anna Ammirati, Ennio Fantastichini, and Ricky Tognazzi.
At long last its available on DVD in Italy, and the source material and transfer are quite good. The transfer is 1.85:1 letterboxed 4×3 format (not the 1.66:1 claimed on the packaging). I would have preferred either 1.85:1 at 16×9, or
(Confession: My Italian is rotten and my Venetian is nonexistent. So my understanding of this movie is minimal. Despite all that, there are things I can make out.) This picaresque stream-of-consciousness comedy follows a recently graduated draftsman, Bonifacio B. (Brasss newborn son was also named Bonifacio), who is offered a job by a large firm. The problem is that Bonifacio is a manic-depressive who is morally opposed to working for large firms even morally opposed to performing any sort of work whatsoever. He must have been traumatized by a viewing of Ermanno Olmis Il posto (1961), to which many an homage is paid here. (A fellow who is almost a dead-ringer for Bonifacio appeared in Olmis film: the morning after the exam, when the successful applicants assemble in a waiting room. Look at the guy who argues that the test score counts more than nepotism. Hmmmmmmmmmm.) Bonifacio wanders the streets of Venice, meeting friends and acquaintances, many of them leftist activists. One rebellious friend he can only visit at the local insane asylum, as the stress/futility of activism has shot his nerves. Bonifacio pursues his prankish thoughts, surrealistically remembering his outrageous fascist childhood and his military service, and wistfully recalling his brief but doomed engagement to the winsome Gabriella doomed only because he cant face up to any form of responsibility. Ultimately, in a jolt of an ending, he decides to reject the job offer.
|Bonifacios grandfather offers his wisdom|
Despite the political and somber subject matter of this angry-young-man story, much of the film is hilarious, nearly all of it is good-natured and light-hearted, and all of it is warm and loving. The actor who plays Bonifacio, Sady Rebbot, had recently made a hit as a murderous pimp in Jean-Luc Godards austere Vivre sa vie: film en douze tableaux, which is excerpted here when Bonifacio fantasizes about being a glamourous criminal. And Brass chose Pascale Audret to play Gabriella after seeing her in a French stage production of The Diary of Anne Frank. (Shes my favorite of all the actresses in Brasss films.)
When In capo al mondo was first screened at the Venice Film Festival in late 1963 audiences and a fair number of critics alike went wild with enthusiasm and were certain they had witnessed the emergence of a major talent. (Varietys critic, Hawk, called it insouciant. I cant think of a better word to describe the dialoguewell, at least what little I can understand of the dialogue thanks to my poor knowledge of Italian.) Little could the critics have predicted what would happen next. The censors banned the film, and the church, especially in the person of the Patriarch of Venice, railed against it. No one in authority wanted to see family life, the Axis, the church, or the military treated in anything less than a heroic manner. To present such subjects humorously was more than the censors could bear. But the films worst crime was making a hero out of a fellow who thinks that work is evil. This was apparently a federal offense, in violation of Article 1 of the Italian Constitution, which states that Italy is based upon labor. The censor demanded cuts, and also demanded a new title. Brass wouldnt make the cuts, preferring to shelve the film instead. But he was willing to negotiate a new title. Did the censor have any suggestions? No suggestions at all, so long as its different. So Brass chose Chi lavora è perduto (Whoever Works Is Lost). This new title was a play on Mussolinis adage that chi si ferma è perduto, or whoever stops is lost, by which he inspired his public to keep fighting and to keep the faith. (And Mussolinis dictum had also been used as the title of a 1960 movie starring Totò.) Just about two months later the political situation had cooled, and Zebra Film managed to clear the film for a 5 December 1963 release, but with about 12 minutes chopped out, rendering at least one sequence senseless. Though the film earned enough of a profit to make Brass a marketable filmmaker, it never realized its full monetary value, for its box-office potential was crippled when the censors restricted it to adults only. (Today it would almost certainly get a PG. My guess is that the reasons for the restriction were probably the briefest glimpses of the slightest nudity, such shocking vocabulary as merda, Gabriellas traumatic search for a doctor willing to perform an abortion, the wacked-out repressed-pedophile priest, and the icon of Jesus winking in agreement at Bonifacio. But thats only a guess.) But then the movie pretty much vanished, for reasons I have never learned. (The published stories are all wrong.) Mario Gagliardottos book, Obiettivo Brass, reveals yet another controversy engendered by this film, one far more personal: In one scene, Bonifacio is amused by a fascist epitaph on a gravestone. Unbeknownst to Brass, it was his own father who had written that epitaph. In revenge, father disinherited son!
|Gian Luigi Rondi, Italian Cinema Today: 19521965
(New York: Hill and Wang, 1966), pp 214, 216:
|Bonifacio at the art museum|
HISTORICAL CONTEXT: At the Cinémathèque Française, Brass had associated with Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, and François Truffaut, the founders of the French New Wave (la nouvelle vague) movement. In capo al mondo, though filmed in Italy and Switzerland, can nonetheless be considered a New Wave work. It is perhaps the only New Wave work thats not French.
|A young Bonifacio taunts his friends|
POETIC INJUSTICE: Chi lavora è perduto had been unseen for decades when the Spazio Oberdan, a new film archive housed in an old movie palace in Milano, screened a 16mm print on Saturday, 30 September 2000, with Brass in attendance. The original 35mm prints were black and white, except for the funeral of the partisan, which was in color, filling the screen with red flags. But the 16mm revival print was entirely in black and white. This was almost surely the same print that was shortly afterwards shown on television.
|A moment from the only color sequence.|
SIGNING THE FILM WITH HIS FACE: This might have been Brasss first time in front of a movie camera. (Was he on camera in LItalia non è un Paese povero? Take a look at the stills.) During Bonifacios fantasy, we see a newsreel cameraman quickly approach him. From the back he looks like Tinto Brass. Then in the next shot we see the cameramans face, and, no two ways about it, there he is! According to Antonio Tentoris book Tinto Brass: Il senso dei sensi, Brass also doubles for a boater earlier in the film, but I cant recognize him.
|Bonifacio in the spotlight. Tinto Brass as a 16mm TV-news cameraman.|
HOMAGES: As noted above, homages are paid to
Il posto and
Vivre sa vie.
Another homage consists of dupey-looking clips from Roberto Rossellinis breathtaking
Paisà (a.k.a. Paisan).
I suspect that one of the final shots, a clip of the entrance gate to Auschwitz, was probably used in
There are also a couple of blink-and-you-miss-it shots and edits
deliberately reminiscent of the breakthrough 16mm American independent film from 1948 called
Dreams That Money Can Buy.
So that explains why Bonifacios job interviewer speaks via speeded-up tape.
Did anyone catch anything else?
(If youve never seen
Dreams That Money Can Buy, you owe it to yourself to rectify that situation.
Its a collaborative effort by a bunch of the greatest artists of the 20th century,
shot for next to no money on Kodachrome with a home-movie camera in a New York City loft.
If your equipment can play
MORTALITY: I was saddened to learn that Sady (a.k.a. Saddy) Rebbot died of cancer at the young age of 59, and that Pascale Audret died in a motor accident at the young age of 63. And they werent the only ones. Quite a few of the people who worked on this movie died prematurely. How fragile life is.
|Bonifacio would like to be rich, but alas...|
QUESTIONS FOR OUR READERS: Who dubbed Sady Rebbots, Pascale Audrets, and Monique Messines voices? Can any of you Francophone lip-readers tell if they were speaking Italian or French? Tinto Brass dubbed Tino Buazzelli to give him a proper Venetian accent. It seems that this film was also shown in France as Qui travaille est perdu and in Germany as Wer arbeitet, ist verloren. Does anyone know if thats correct? Do the French and German dubs still exist?
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE SEE:
AnteprimaAnnoZero Film Festival, 30 May 2001
DEAD LINKS THAT MIGHT COME BACK TO LIFE SOME DAY:
Torino Film Festival, 1321 November 2003
Il critica film
tamtamcinema: The Daily of Italian Cinema, 29 May 2001
tamtamcinema: The Daily of Italian Cinema, 6 June 2001
Verona contemporanea 4 no 1 (April 2000), esp p 8
Cristiana Paternò, Bellaria 2001: Anteprimaannozero, Monday, 4 June 2001
A mere 44 years after the première, the full soundtrack album is released. Well, what was the rush?
|Now, at long last, I get to see Nistris poster as published. |
Not only that, but I can see even more clearly why I cant understand much of the dialogue or narration in this movie.
What on earth does that doggerel mean?
|NOTE: Just after I posted the above, Italian-born Marco Fornier, bless him, came to the
rescue. You see, I understood most of the words, but I didnt see how they formed sentences.
Now that he has rendered it so sensibly, it all seems embarrassingly obvious. Here goes:|
Variety, Wednesday, 28 August 1963, p 5 col 1:
p 5 col 3:
Variety, Wednesday, 4 September 1963, p 20 cols 12:
Gene Moskowitz, Few Quality at Venice: Emphasis on Art via Austerity, Variety, Wednesday, 11 September 1963, p 5 col 3:
Daily Variety, Tuesday, 17 September 1963, p 5 cols 34:
Daily Variety, Monday, 14 October 1963, pp 1, 10:
Daily Variety, Monday, 2 December 1963, pp 1, 4:
International Sound Track, Variety, Wednesday, 18 December 1963, p 20 col 4:
British and Yanks Each Send Pair to Berlin Fest, Variety, Wednesday, 21 June 1967, pp 15, 70:
DVD forthcoming from
The announcement has so far quietly been made at Forum Raro Video Tinto Brass dEpoca
ANICA Associazione Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche Audiovisive e Multimediali
|Soggetto (original story)||Tinto Brass [uncredited]|
|Collaboratore alla regia
(assistant to the director)
|Franco [Kim] Arcalli (19291978)|
|Operatore alla macchina
(assistant camera operator)
|Vittorugo Contino c.s.c. (author of Ezra Pound in Italy)|
|Ispettore di produzione
|Assistente alla regia (asst. to the director)||Franco Campigotto|
|Segretaria di edizione (continuity)||Carla Cipriani|
|Scenografo (art director)||Raul Schultz (19311971)|
|Costumista (costume designer)||Danilo Donati|
|Stabilimento di sviluppo e stampa (lab)||Istituto Nazionale Luce|
|Tecnico (technician)||Enzo Verzini|
|Registrazioni sonore (sound studio)||International Recording|
|Effetti speciali (special effects)||Cinestudio|
|Musica (music)||Piero Piccioni|
|Edizioni musicali (music publishers)||R.C.A.|
|Musica di repertorio (music excerpt)||AMORE TWIST [uncredited]|
|cantata da (sung by)||Rita Pavone [uncredited]|
|Collaboratore alla regia e alla sceneggiatura (assistance in the direction and screenplay)||Franco [Kim] Arcalli (19291978)|
|Dialoghi (dialogue)||Giancarlo Fusco e Tinto Brass|
|Direttore della fotografia
(director of photography)
|Un produzione di (a production of)||Zebra Film (Italia) and |
Franco London Film (Londra)
|PERSONAGGI E INTERPRETI|
|Bonifacio B.||Sady Rebbot (27 April 1935 12 October 1994)|
|Gabriella||Pascale Audret (12 October 1936 17 July 2000)|
|???||Nando Angelini c.s.c.|
|Kim||Franco [Kim] Arcalli (19291978)|
|Gianni||Piero Vida (19381987)|
|Claudio||Tino Buazzelli (13 September 1922 20 October 1980)|
|Generale||Giuseppe Cosentino [uncredited]|
|Modella||Monique Messine [uncredited] (2 April 194011 July 2003)|
|Bonifacio as a boy||Carletto Chia [uncredited]|
|Newsreel cameraman||Tinto Brass [uncredited]|
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