( 2922, Italia, 107')
The revolution Sergio Leone led in what is the quintessentially American movie genre took the ideal form of a prism that deformed western film image and structure, filtering it with Japanese samurai movie. It all started with plagiarism, later recognized, and duly paid back. Leone adapted the Japanese ronin scenes by rebuilding, in Spain, a western panorama in Techniscope format. His stylistic choices – the pre-eminence of face close-ups on top of open, limitless landscape, and the use of Morricone’s music as counterpoint and integral, indissoluble part of the narration – created a brand new genre. The myth of the frontier, created by western veteran John Ford, and not in fact close to historical fact, is not what the Dollars trilogy is about: Leone went back to it later, in his last-but-one spaghetti western Once Upon a Time in the West of 1968. The director’s legacy is his 1984 masterpiece, Once Upon a Time in America, an epic gangster movie that exists in a time and space all of its own, a ‘dreamloop’ of extraordinary beauty.
Director Francesco Zippel brings to Venice, in the Classics section, Sergio Leone l’italiano che inventò l’America (lit. ‘Sergio Leone, the Italian who invented America’), a documentary featuring several interviews. Sergio Leone’s daughter, Raffaella, has been strongly supporting the documentary’s production all along. Zippel had already worked in the production of documentaries on legendary directors, such as William Friedkin, Nicholas Ray, and African-American cinema pioneer Oscar Micheaux.