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Salon Italia. Illustrious Corpses

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Italian Cultural Institute

39 Belgrave Square

London

SW1X 8NX

United Kingdom

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Film screening (121’) introduced by Nick Walker and followed by a discussion.

The setting of Illustrious Corpses (1976) seems to be Sicily, though it's never clearly identified. The “illustrious corpses” of the title are some of Italy’s most prominent jurists, who are mysteriously turning up dead.

The country is thrown into disorder. Inspector Rogas (Lino Ventura), investigates and becomes convinced that a man, who was once wrongly convicted and sent to prison, is carrying out a campaign of revenge. The inspector's superiors, however, don't want to hear his evidence. More assassinations occur. The inspector then stumbles on a conspiracy that involves all of his superiors, who are apparently using one man's private vengeance to effect a plot involving the fate of the nation.

Illustrious Corpses opens spectacularly, chillingly, amongst mummified human remains in an ancient catacomb. It then unfolds amidst monumental modernist set pieces and elegant interiors of ancient palazzi. Among its most epic scenes, the one in which Max Von Sydow, as the mad chief justice, explains that when a judge “celebrates the law”, he is like a priest celebrating mass and thus incapable of error.

Rosi’s high-style exercise in paranoia ranks as one of the best political conspiracy films of the 1970s.

In collaboration with Rochesterkino.

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Italian Cultural Institute

39 Belgrave Square

London

SW1X 8NX

United Kingdom

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