Film note

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun May 4 16:21:24 MDT 2003

A while back I reviewed a revival "The Wide Blue Road" at the Film Forum in 
NYC. This is the first film ever made by Gillo Pontecorvo, who became 
famous with his "Battle of Algiers". I noticed it on the shelves of my 
local video store yesterday and urge one and all to track it down. It is a 
great political film.

 From the review:

In a remote and picturesque fishing village on an island off the coast of 
southern Italy, the local men have lined up to sell their fish to the owner 
of the only refrigerator in town. With this economic leverage, he forces 
them not only to accept a lower-than-market price but his insults as well. 
He refers sneeringly to the small size of their catch as "sardines."

Squarciò (Yves Montand) maneuvers to the front of the line with his catch, 
which is rich with yellowfin tuna and sea bream that can command high 
prices on the mainland where the wealthy live. Unlike the other men, 
Squarciò relies neither on skill nor uses a seine. His secret, which is 
common knowledge in the village even to the local cop, is that he uses 

In one of the opening scenes in "The Wide Blue Road," we see Squarciò at 
work. While sitting on a seaside rock with an artillery shell clenched 
between his knees, he struggles to unscrew the cap of the shell. Once it is 
off, he can pour the explosive powder into a homemade bomb. His two young 
sons stand warily at a distance watching their father at work, sweat 
pouring from his anxious face. Perhaps Montand's riveting performance in 
the 1953 "Wages of Fear," his first screen performance, inspired Gillo 
Pontecorvo to use him in the 1957 "The Wide Blue Road," his debut film. (In 
"Wages of Fear," Montand plays a down-and-out Frenchman in Mexico who is 
paid to transport a truckload of nitroglycerine up a bumpy dirt road to the 
top of a mountain, where it will be used to extinguish an out-of-control 
oil-well fire.)


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