Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 25th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, May 29th, 1969
Directors: Marco Bellocchio, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean-Luc Godard, Carlo Lizzani, Pier Paolo Pasolini
Writers: Piero Badalassi, Marco Bellocchio, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean-Luc Godard, Carlo Lizzani, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Puccio Pucci
Cast: Tom Baker, Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Giulio Cesare Castello, Adriano Aprà, Fernaldo Di Giammatteo, Ninetto Davoli, Rochelle Barbini, Christine Guého, Aldo Puglisi, Nino Castelnuovo, Catherine Jourdan, Paolo Pozzesi, Marco Bellocchio
DVD released: October 25th, 2005
Approximate running time: 102 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: No Shame
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
“The bureaucracy is a circle from which one cannot escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge. The top entrusts the understanding of detail to the lower levels, whilst the lower levels credit the top with understanding of the general, and so all are mutually deceived.” – Karl Marx
Love and Anger is a collection of five stories from diverse directors that are connected in theme only. Each director takes verses from the bible and then turns the material into modern tale about morality.
L Indifferenza: A young woman is raped and murdered on one side of town while a couple on the other side of town narrowly escapes a brutal car crash. The man from the car crash frantically tries to flag down another car to help him bring his dying wife to the hospital. When he is unable to get anyone to stop he picks her up and starts to walk her top the hospital while he holds her is his arms. Two motorcycle cops see him and when they call for an ambulance there are none available. One of the cops flags down a car that just happens to be driven by the man who earlier on the side of town raped and murdered a young woman. This segment is a powerful statement on how we as human beings are oblivious to the suffering of others. The kinetic editing heightens the tension the builds up to a fever pitch. It is also interesting how the low life murderer is the only one who is willing to help and a few times when he tries to walk away he conscious won’t let him. Overall this is the most assessable segment in the film.
Agonia: A dying is visited by a priest and shortly after the priest arrives he asks the priest and a woman who is in the room with him to leave. This is where any real narrative ends and what comes next is truly the most bizarre moments of this film. The bulk of this segment involve of group of hippie sitting around chanting and doing other various abstract exercises. I find this segment to be the least involving and it tended to drag on a few beats to long. What it did do well was its excellent use of ambient sounds which added to the mood of the segment.
La sequenza del fiore di carta: A young man walk through the streets of Rome while images of worlds leaders and war time footage is superimposed over the footage of him walking. This segment is like the last two is a statement against the evils men do and war. I really liked the juxtaposition of the superimposed shots with what was going on in the background. This was one of the best uses of this technique that I have ever seen in any film. Overall even though this segment moves along quickly it achieves so much through its visuals despite its thin narrative.
L’Amore: A man and a woman sit at a table watching a couple who are in love. Like the two previous segments there is never any coherent narrative established. Godard uses in this segment a technique that he had previously used in Contempt were the opening credits are read instead of appearing on the screen. Were are told by the man and woman at the table that we are watching a Jean-Luc Godard film and that it is in widescreen and color. To truly understand film we must observe what is happing on the screen not just watch which is the main statement that Godard is trying to get across in this segment. Like many of his previous films this segment his dialog heavy and it contains some of the most extreme uses of the widescreen 2.35:1 scope that has ever been filmed. Overall is you are a fan of Godard you are sure to love his contribution to Love and Anger.
Discutiamo, discutiamo: A professor’s lecture is interrupted by a group of students who prescribe to Marxist ideology. What follows is a debate between the status quo and the Marxist’s that verges on confrontational at times. This segment is more political then the other four feels the most dated and it is definitely a product of time. Overall some strong ideas are batted around which help keep things interesting through out this segments short duration.
No Shame presents Love and Anger in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This high definition transfer has been sourced from the original vault interpositive and it is available for the first time ever in the U.S. on DVD in its original aspect ratio and uncut. No Shame continues to releases breathtaking transfers as the colors look robust and detail remain sharp through out. This transfer is progressive outside of an occasional spec of dirt this transfer is virtually immaculate. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and edge enhancement is kept to a minimum.
For this release there is only audio option that has been included and even though the DVD box art says in Italian there is also English and French spoken through out the film. Removable English subtitles have been included that are nicely placed and easy to follow. Overall this mono sourced mix besides two minor instances of background is more then adequate as the dialog and music sound evenly mixed never distorting the other.
Extras for this release include a collectable booklet that includes bios for Marco Bellocchio, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean-Luc Godard, Carlo Lizzani and Pier Paolo Pasolini as well as liner notes about the film and a piece about the Living Theater group who appear in Bernardo Bertolucci segment of the film. Other extras include a brief poster and still gallery that plays music from the film in the background. Rounding out the extras is a feature length documentary about the film titled “Behind Love and Anger” which includes interviews with Carlo Lizzani, Marco Bellocchio, Editor Roberto Perpigneni and assistant director Maurizio Ponzi. The documentary is essentially four separate interviews in which each of the participants talk about their involvement in the film. Carlo Lizzani interview is the lengthiest of the four and he also discusses how he helped put his project together. The interview I found most fascinating was the one with Roberto Perpigneni who spent a great deal of his time talking about working with Pier Paolo Pasolini. This documentary is about eighty minutes in length and it is presented in Italian with English subtitles. Even though the documentary is full of a wealth of information about Love and Anger it would have been cool to hear comments on the film from Jean-Luc Godard and Bernardo Bertolucci. No Shame continues to impress me with each new release. Love and Anger is by far and away the least assessable film that No Shame has released to date. Those who are brave enough to embrace its avant-garde narrative structure will be rewarded with one of the most original works of cinema ever committed to film.
For more information about Love and Anger visit No Shame here.