The Assassin (1961)

  • Dir: Elio Petri

  • Italy/France, 1961, 98min

  • Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Micheline Presle, Cristina Gaioni

In Petri’s first feature, Marcello Mastroianni is Alfredo, a suave antiques dealer accused of killing his jealous lover. As the police circumvent the law in their effort to get Alfredo to confess to the murder, it becomes clear that his innocence or guilt isn’t Petri’s primary concern, but rather the authorities’ questionable tactics (something to which the Italian censors objected at the time) pitted against Alfredo, an alluring con artist. Mastroianni’s amoral charmer is a more sinister cousin to the jaded journalist he portrayed a year earlier in the Fellini classic La Dolce Vita , and the film helped to cement Petri’s themes of greed, mendacity and official corruption.

1961 Berlin International Film Festival, In Competition



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