Category Archives: Uncategorized

Death on the Run

Some interesting observations about Spaghetti westerns, in particular the populist / Marxist Zapata westerns by an author viewing the films from that perspective . . . but 50 years later. These movies are still provocative. I trashed Godard’s The Wind From The East recently. This is why. That film did not effect cultural or political consciousness in the late 1960s and it certainly remains irrelevant today.

Full Unemployment Cinema

“I used to believe in many things, all of it! Now, I believe only in dynamite.”

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Lima Zulu and Full Unemployment Cinema present Death on the Run a 3 day short season of Spaghetti and deviant Westerns.

21st – 23rd FEB

FREE

#DOTR

LimaZulu, 3J Omega Works, 167 Hermitage Road, N4 1LZ

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The western is an intensely political genre, but if the American western mythologises heroism, order and Manifest Destiny the Italian “Spaghetti” western deals with an altogether different subject matter. This short season will explore some of the themes central to Italian and other deviant westerns – anti-colonialism, ultra-violence, anti-heroic nihilism and revolutionary intransigence, amongst others.

Connected to the season of screenings Benjamin Noys will give a presentation on ‘The Spaghetti Western, Politics and the Horrors of Resistance’ (Sat.22nd Feb. 17.30).

Great Silence

A publication featuring essays on the Spaghetti Western and the various forms of cynicism, nihilism and revolt that…

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List of films influenced by Sergio Leone

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Good list by FilmGuy99 of movies influenced by Sergio Leone.  Of course, as it only contains 22 films it is obvious that this list is only barely scratches the surface of Leone’s influence on cinema.

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Light the Fuse…Sartana is Coming (1970)

I really have enjoyed Canadian Cinephile’s reviews of the Sartana films. Here is his latest!

Sartana the Gravedigger (1969)

Nice review of the next Django Rising Podcast’s topic, “Sartana the Grave Digger” by Jordan Richardson of Canadian Cinephile!

Django Rising Podcast Facebook Page!

Hi! I just started the Django Rising Podcast Facebook page! Like it and keep up with new episodes and spaghetti western news!

https://www.facebook.com/djangorisingpodcast

Swide’s Valentina Zannoi on “Giuliano Gemma: Spaghetti Westerns’ Angel Face”

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Nice, short introduction to the films of Gemma.

Born in 1938, Giuliano Gemma began his acting career as a stuntman due to his physical prowess. His talent as an actor and his leading man looks though did not go unnoticed, and director Dino Risi first offered him a speaking part next to Alberto Sordi in the critically acclaimed Venezia, la Luna e Tu in 1958.

Gemma’s real break however came in 1959 in an unaccredited role, he was cast as a centurion inWilliam Wyler’s Ben Hur. His looks, and physique then lead him to star in the ironic take on the mythological genre with Arrivano i Titani, (1962) which was a huge success both at home and abroad.

Taking a brief hiatus from the more action based movies, Gemma makes appearances in Visconti’sThe Leopard in 1963, and more from the franchise like Angelica and Angelica alla Corte del Re.

His real success and status as a heartthrob known worldwide was christened with the Spaghetti Western films, where he starred in many oeuvres directed by the biggest names like Duccio Tessari,Tonino Valerii and Sergio Corbucci.

Gemma interpreted over 100 films in his career and later in life moved towards the tv screen.

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Review of “My Name Is Nobody” by Harry H. Long of the Daily News

Reviews: Spaghetti western is worth your time ‘My Name is Nobody’ with Henry Fonda has drama, comedic moments

 

IS WORTH YOUR TIME

The likable film “My Name is Nobody” (“Il Mio Nome E Nessuno” in Italian) works on several levels.

It is a serious (but not deadly so) example of the Spaghetti Western popularized by Sergio Leone (and produced by him, though someone named Tonnino Valerii directed most of it). Leone provided the story idea and it stars Henry Fonda, who also appeared in the director’s “Once Upon a Time in the West.” But it’s also a comedic film, thanks primarily to co-star Terence Hill, who repeats essentially the same kind of character he essayed in the Trinity movies, a man whose ability with a gun and his fists is concealed by a goofy demeanor . . .

. . .

As much as anything else, the film serves as a valedictory to the genre (in a graveyard scene, one of the names on a gravemarker is Sam Peckinpah) and a reflection on changing times (aside from the casting of Hill and Fonda the film is tellingly set in the year 1899).

But if that sounds as though the proceedings are heavy going, they are anything but. Just as Fonda and Hill are juxtaposed, so is the epic with the comic. Scenes of the Wild Bunch (one of the groups out to get Fonda) rampaging about are accompanied by Ennio Morricone’s snide arrangement of Richard Wagner’s “The Ride of the Valkyries,” a shootout in a hall of mirrors humorously references Orson Welles’ “The Lady from Shanghai” and the splendor of Leone’s trademark panoramas are undercut with an undercranked camera speeding up the action.

“Only God Forgives” and the spaghetti western

I really enjoyed Nicholas Winding Refn’s recent Only God Forgives (2013), though I guess I am in the minority. The movie was mezmorizing in the theatre with its rich visuals and incredible score. The movie makes obvious references to the spaghetti westerns of the 1960s and 1970s, so I thought I would poke around on the internet and see what I could find on this.


Interesting comment
in a short review Nicholas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives by M. Faust at ARTVOICE:

Gosling is also in Refn’s newest film, but don’t be expecting Drive II. Only God Forgives has a title recalling the 1968 spaghetti western Chiedi perdono a Dio… non a me (God Forgives, I Don’t). It concludes with a dedication to Refn’s friend Alejandro Jodorowsky that should have been put at the beginning of the film so that audiences familiar with Jodorowsky’s hallucinogenic oeuvre (El Topo, The Holy Mountain, Santa Sangre) would have some idea what to expect.

Looking more into this, I find this from an interview of Refn’s at We Are Movie Geeks by Melissa Howland:

You’re films kind of have a Spaghetti Western feel to them. A kind of Clint Eastwood, Sergio Leone quality – where your leading man is a “man with no name”… the strong, silent type. I’m curious if those types of movies influence you? Where do you find influence and inspiration?

NICOLAS WINDING REFN: I get influence from everywhere, of course. I’m a child of cinema. I like cinema. I can’t get enough of it. But then again, I could be looking out the window, I could be staring out a plane, I could be going on a bus brining my kids to kindergarten. I could be hearing a piece of music. Music a lot! It’s very inspiring because I don’t do drugs anymore, so music enhances my emotion, which is what you tap into to be creative. You tap into your emotions. So, it’s all over. I try not to be dogmatic about anything. I don’t get up at 9 o’clock every morning and start working unless I have to. If I don’t have to I do it at night.

From Brent Mcknight at Beyond Hollywood:

With films like “Drive,” “Bronson,” and “Valhalla Rising” on his resume, anything Nicolas Winding Refn does immediately leap frogs to the top of my must see list, especially when it involves teaming up with his handsome man muse Ryan Gosling. You can imagine that as soon as I heard about their new collaboration, “Only God Forgives,” described as a Muay Thai spaghetti western, my anticipation meter went through the roof. The trailers, posters, and pictures, all indicate a quiet, tense film, punctuated by sharp bursts of brutal violence.

Ryan Latanzio at Thompson on Hollywood:

Before the film started, Winding Refn told us that while “Drive” was like “doing cocaine all night,” “Only God Forgives” is more of “an old school acid trip.” But this film — nocturnal, deathly quiet and far more sinister — is also a more sleepy psychotropic experience. It’s David Lynch goes to Thailand to direct a spaghetti western on quaaludes

Rebecca Baker, Rushes Magazine:

The latest creation from the Dutch film maker is the red-fluorescent-twin of Drive, Only God Forgives,where Martinez’ noted piece, ‘Wanna Fight’, combines influences from the Spaghetti Western scores by Ennio Morricone to the minimalist pieces by Philip Glass. “Morricone was a strong influence in the ‘Wanna Fight’ piece, as the pipe organ is the acknowledgment of the God element,” he laughs, “while Philip Glass was an influence through his style of repetitive-minimalism with the Synthesiser.”

Glass and Morricone were not the only influences to be added to Martinez’ soundtrack, “Nicolas kept talking about these Italian horror films, so I watched a couple by Dario Argento,” who is best known for the Giallo sub-genre. “I think Brian Eno and some other composers wrote the scores for those films. That’s what I like about O-G-F the score is a mixture of influences and not just one.”

Russ Fisher, Film: Blogging the Reel World:

It’s easy to hope for, or insist on a declaration. For this movie, “I am a spaghetti western.”

Refn: Then you’re like “With my knowledge, I can categorize that.” Then it’s like, you define it, but then where is the fun? Where is the experience beyond that?

Andrew Johnson, In Reel Deep:

This is a bit of a shame because the rest of the film is captivating.It’s not just Thomas and Pansringarm, but also the city of Bangkok itself and Winding Refn’s bizarre, fascinating fixations on hands and hallways and karaoke that give it some great moments. Winding Refn is a near-master at this point of the post-Western. There are no cowboys or Indians or horses, but the Spaghetti Western influence is painfully obvious and well-crafted, whether it’s mysterious, almost nameless characters, visceral scores or exotic, seemingly limitless locales.

This is the best review that I have seen yet on the film:

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Quick Review: Dead in Tombstone

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Hi! I watched an interesting film on Netflix that I thought I should put up a few quick notes on.

Jayson Kennedy has a great review of the direct to video Dead in Tombstone (2012) at his blog, basement of ghoulish decadence.

Danny Trejo in an action “horror western” was an inevitability, but the Western genre is deceptively complex. To produce even a “decent” example a convincing drama needs to be constructed around punctuated violence. The screenplay, penned by the duo behind the awful killer clown slasher Drive Thru (2007), instead strings along action sequences with scattered bits of shallow exposition. In that respect, Dead in Tombstone succeeds and shows how well a measly five million dollars, and major studio backing, can be utilized. The Deadwood aesthetic is in full effect with a western town backlot and actors drenched in that unnatural “readymade rustic” grit. Frenzied editing hampers most nuance of the camerawork, but the sound design is extremely impressive and the film never once sounds its low cost.

Matt at Ruthless Reviews also has a fun review of the film:

Holy shit, dude. An old fashioned Western starring Danny Trejo, Mickey Rourke, and Anthony Michael Hall! What’s this review doing in the Shithouse? This just might be the best film of the year

I agree with Jayson that the acting is very bad and the characters under-developed. Furthermore, the gunfights are energetic but brain dead . . . too often there are dozens of men shooting in close confines to the Trejo, but they almost never hit him. However, while there is some Bad and Ugly to this movie, there is also some Good. The Romanian locations are great. Next, this movie feels like a real grindhouse spaghetti western ~ shabby, gritty, ragged and cheap. Most importantly, it not only imitates Western alla’Italiana style, but the screenwriter and director actually understood the basic formula of an spaghetti western. As direct-to-video American clones go, this is not too bad. In fact, I enjoyed it more that I enjoyed Tarantino’s Django Unchained . . .

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In an earlier blog post, I wrote about the mythical/ritualistic plot of the Italian western. Basically, the character is killed and then reborn in a classic ‘liminal’ narrative. In their rite of passage, they usually end of saving the town . . . even though their explicit motivations are always selfish.

Dead in Tombstone is very similar to And God Said To Cain and Django the Bastard with its Gothic elements and spectral protagonist that returns from the grave to extract revenge for a wrong done to them. Django Kill!, Twice A Judas, and Ciakmull also have similar structures. . . with characters ‘returning from the dead.” This movie catches that element well. However, in those movies the characters only figuratively or narratively returned from death. In this movie, Danny Trjeo repeatedly moves from God’s County (the town of Edenland) to Hell and back. This is an interesting variant of this basic story.

This movie gets a 6.75 / 10 on my rating scale. Its worth a watch if you are fan of the genre.

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