September 26, 2022

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Clint Eastwood’s Last West Story – Corriere.it

From Filippo Mazzarella

After this masterpiece, the great actor and director no longer ventures to go into the genre that made him famous by starting with Sergio Leone’s brutal films.

West is the prince/ghost/return genre par excellence of American cinema, even today when its commercial glories and “pure” form are increasingly far away. Because in the end the feel, the mindset, and the genetic makeup of Hollywood cinema itself, a Chinese box of all the other genres (comedy, musical, historical drama, even science fiction and horror, like Jordan). Peele’s upcoming “Nope” also explains). It is an idea of ​​the world of cinema in which the entire outer, timeless imagination that almost any filmmaker of the twentieth century has encountered, engaged, and measured, permeates, regardless of whether he emerges victorious or defeated. .

First actor, then director

The West is also the region in which Clint Eastwood has imposed himself mightily, first only as an actor (and oddly enough in Italy, in the form of the legendary “Transformation” directed by Major Sergio Leone’s “Spaghetti Western”) and then as author of the court of shuffle. But these are things that walls know, too. Launched by Leon “The Three Dollars” (For a Fistful of Dollars, 1964; For a Few Dollars More, 1965; The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, 1966); “Hang Him Higher” (Hang ‘Em High, 1968, by Ted Post), “The Eagles are Hungry” (Two Mules for Sister Sara, 1970) and “Soldier Jonathan’s Good Night” (The Beguiled, 1971), a wonderful double by Don Siegel, They dedicated it (partially). But when Clint decides to go behind the camera incrementally, his “western”, “applied” sensibility, his somewhat ambiguous and somewhat decadent poetry, and his paradoxical need to “personify” characters unquestionably and metaphorically ghostly. difference. “The Unknown Stranger” (High Plains Drifter, 1973), “The Ice-Eyed Texan” (The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976), “Bronco Billy” (id., 1980) and the fantastic and underrated “The Pale Knight” (Pale Rider , 1985) are at the same time elegies and elegies, memories and rebirth, sad reflections on the loss of innocence (cinema and America), on the nature of violence, on the need for salvation.

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7 years long break

In 1985, The Pale Knight seems to credit Eastwood with closing an inner discourse with the genre and with himself: in a film that appears to be only realistic, indeed metaphysical and mystical, often drenched in darkness and in which his character was “a solitary and little-spoken knight who came from Nowhere, perhaps a self-styled preacher, perhaps an angel of vengeance” (B. Merigiti), the actor/director definitively denies himself, and looks into the past (“Solitary Knight of the Valley”, but probably / unconsciously also to the legendary “Django”; or to Bud Boecher’s “Tree of Vengeance” obsessions to disappear – literally – in the present dark age (those ’80s which despite their reputation as obnoxious retrograde, as all of his contemporary detective stories show, such as “Courage…Let Yourself Killed/Sudden Impact”) , 1982 or “Corda Tessa/Tetrope”, 1984, officially attributed to Richard Tugle) where the silences of the gunslinger are more eloquent than any ideological proclamation. In fact, it would be seven years (which is quite a long time for its production standards) before Eastwood decided for one last (and final) return to the genre with “Gli rietati/Unforgiven,” released in US cinemas on August 7, 1992 (and by us). Only in February of the following year): a film, while living an absolute life of its own, which cannot fail to be considered a personal and tragic text of the personal and “political” approach of the entire Eastwood genre.

The Unforgiven: The Latest Eastwood Western Film

Not surprisingly, the screenplay by David Webb Peoples (who actually contributed to dyeing Dicken’s science fiction black for “Blade Runner”) operates in an exciting and conscious chasm within the genre, while retaining only the narrative structure of the “classic” Western foundation. Which Eastwood sticks to to emphatically reaffirm the need to get away from him. The first shot is a gorgeous landscape shot of Wyoming’s natural majesty; But soon everything sinks into despair. Two wild cowboys trick a prostitute into a brothel who has allowed herself to ridicule his manhood, and Sheriff “Little Bill” Daggett (Gene Hackman) asks them to compensate the owner for property damages; But the women, eager for revenge because they had not seen them hanged, gather all their possessions together to put a price on their heads. The first to come forward is the deadly bounty hunter (Richard Harris), who is being hunted by Little Bill from the city. But when young outlaw-turned-pig farmer William Mooney (Eastwood) visits young Schofield Kid (James Wolfet) in financial straits due to an epidemic decimating his monsters, things change: the man reluctantly accepts, lured by the money he’ll also need to support his children, It includes another “reformed” assassin, Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman) in what will become a bloody all-out battle not so much against a violent cowboy as against a corrupt sheriff, unwilling to tolerate others who wield “justice” in his stead.

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Ghost Actors: Samples of Nothing

It doesn’t matter that the movie builds its climax around a massacre in which many leave their skin; Immediately, the representative characters of ‘the cruel’ (but the literal translation of the original title, ‘unforgiven’–or unforgiven: no essay permitting amphibious reading–is more relevant), ‘good’ or ‘bad’ whether they really are’ dead”, defeated, defeated, excited to act by causes unrelated to morality, the romance of heroes, or the mythical greatness of enemies; They are typical ghost representatives out of nothing, empty archetypes of a world here irrevocably engulfed in night and darkness, emerging on the harsh phase of time and history swept away by the disintegration of morality and reason. The sense of events, though contained in a structure with a ‘traditional’ trajectory hinged on a general sense of ‘justice’, restores the inescapable idea that there is no escaping the intrinsic violence which, once activated, is invoked and ‘enjoyed’ ends. Proving to be deceptively decisive. But the nihilistic, chaotic, and ironic dimension at the bottom of Eastwood’s reflection is all in the extraordinary line that Hackman proclaimed before his death (“I don’t deserve this… to die like this. I was building a house.” / I don’t deserve this… that I’m dying like this. I was building a house) and in the immediately following exchange between Mooney and Little Bill (which we leave to you the joy of rediscovering which concerns their future and their common coincidence).

Success among the Oscars and other films

Four Oscars (Best Picture, Direction, Supporting Actor—Hackman, actually—and editing) honored one of the nineties’ greatest masterpieces. In 2005, Eastwood would win another, again for Best Direction (“Million Dollar Baby”); But it wouldn’t happen again (just scroll through the next movie to realize it) in that territory if not through the overlapping genre, as per the idea of ​​the opening words of these same lines “returning”: science fiction. genis from “Space Cowboys”, 2000; Organizing the contemplation of death as in the “Frontier Film” from the “Gran Torino”, 2008; Nostalgia for old age and comedy for the last and ends? – «Il corriere – The Mule», 2018, and «Cry of macho – Homecoming», 2021). Because “Gli rietati” is not only Eastwood’s last Western court, but also the last Western court in the entire history of cinema. Although this is not true at all.

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Aug 7, 2022 (changed Aug 7, 2022 | 07:57)