L' odore della notte
Caligari's plunge into the violent nocturnal escapades of a Roman armed robber in the late 70s, early 80s is a faithful tribute to Italian genre cinema of those days, as well as a sublime investigation of the psychological climate of an era that forged contemporary Italy.
Regained Special: Claudio Caligari. With Critics' Talk in Lantaren Venster Foyer on Thu 4 Feb, 16:00 after screening of Non essere cattivo.
Inspired by real events in the Rome of the late 1970s, early 1980s which are chronicled in the evocatively-titled book The Clockwork Orange Gang, Scent of the Night marked Caligari's comeback with a bang. His belated and much-awaited follow-up to Toxic Love polarized and baffled critics and audiences alike, who seemingly couldn't cope with his reboot of the poliziottesco (Italo cop movie) from the 1970s. A real shame, because Caligari elevates a fast-moving thriller about the violent street-and-home-robbery career of a former policeman and his gang-mates to a poignant social-political metaphor.
Featuring an iconic performance by Valerio Mastrandrea and interspersed with cinéphile homages ranging from Melville to Bresson, Scent of the Night is the ultimate Italian cult movie of the 1990s. A politically incorrect indictment of a time when the seeds of the vapid hedonism of the Berlusconi age were sown.