Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 6th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, April 9th, 1976
Director: Carlo Lizzani
Writers: Mino Giarda, Carlo Lizzani, Ugo Pirro
Cast: Daniele Asti, Brigitte Skay, Giuliano Cesareo, Pietro Brambilla, Pietro Giannuso, Grazia Baccari, Gilberto Squizzato
BluRay released: March 12th, 2015
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English, German
BluRay Release: Camera Obscura
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: 27.99 EUR
Synopsis: A group of neo-Nazi youths concoct a plan to put a bomb in a union office and blow it up. From there when things do not go as they had planned them too and they come up with a new plan that involves assaulting leftist student and his date. Unfortunately for them things do not goes as planned and in the heat of the moment they commit murder.
San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile was co-written and directed by Carlo Lizzani whose other notable films include, The Violent Four, Crazy Joe, The Last Four Days and The Teenage Prostitution Racket. The score for San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile was composed by Ennio Morricone, one of the most prolific composers in the history of cinema.
It should not come as a surprise that this film has deep political leanings. After its director Carlo Lizzani a well-known supporter of Italian post-war Neorealism. And at the heart of this film is tale about too rival movements’ fascism and communism and their inability to coexist. Also one of this film strengths is how it allows viewers to make up their mind and does not try to force its own agenda.
Though violence is something that crops up throughout the film and it plays a pivotal role in the film’s finale. This is not a film of violence just for the sake of violence. There is still a moral center that sooner or later catches up with those who cross the line!
Visually the film has a documentary vibe going as it captures the daily routines of its main characters. With that being said, there are two gut wrecking moments that takes this film and its subject matter to another level. The first of these scenes involves Franco one of the members of the neo-Nazi group who exploits carry this film’s narrative. In the scene in question Franco who has yet to prove his man is forced by his three friends to take Lala, a young woman they have just meet down into the storage room and have sex with her. Along the way things get intense when he has trouble getting it up and he takes out his anger on the girl. And the other gut wrecking moments is this film tension filled finale where the four neo-Nazi friends decide to unleash their brutality on a couple on a date.
The cast for this film is primary made up first time actors the majority of whom would never appear in another film. Only two actors had any significant career beyond this film and they are Brigitte Skay (A Bay of Blood) in the role of Lalla a ditzy young woman who is accosted on day by a group of neo-Nazi’s while she is walking down the street. The other is Pietro Brambilla (The House of the Laughing Windows) in the role of Fabrizio, the de facto leader of neo-Nazi group that wreaks havoc throughout this film. Fortunately this lack of acting background does not diminish the performances in any way since this film is going for a in the moment vibe that comes off as real and not staged.
Ultimately San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile can best be summed up as a melting pot of various genres which creates a genre unto its own. Trying to pin point this film into one single genre or any existing genres would be doing it a great disservice.
San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile comes on a 50 GB dual layer (44.6 GB) BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. This is another rock solid transfer from Camera Obscura that boasts nicely saturated colors, black and contrast levels look consistently great and details look crisp. Grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in Italian and also included with this release are two subtitle options, English and German. The audio is in great shape, as dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. Range wise the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented and the film’s score sound’s appropriately robust.
Extras for this release include, a photo gallery, a trailer for the film (3 minutes 26 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Italian with English and German subtitles), an interview with co-screenwriter / director Carlo Lizzani (5 minutes 11 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Italian with English and German subtitles), a documentary titled ‘Age of Violence’ (65 minutes 33 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen, in Italian with English and German subtitles) with comments from assistant director / actor Gilberto Squizzato and an audio commentary film historians Marcus Stiglegger and Kai Naumann.
Topics discussed in the interview with Carlo Lizzani include, how he began his career and a screenwriter before making the transition to director, neorealism, how his political views influenced his output as a filmmaker and working with producer Dino De Laurentiis.
Topics discussed in the interview with Gilberto Squizzato include, his early days in cinema, how he meet Carlo Lizzani and their first collaboration The Last Four Days, he briefly touches upon The Teenage Prostitution Racket and Lizzani’s ability to quickly come up with a screenplay, he unique way of telling a story, shooting on locations and casting non actors for many of the lead roles, terrorism in Italy and it influenced 1970’s Italian cinema, his thoughts on San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile and the character he portrayed, shooting the rape scene, how technology has evolved and how said technology could have been used to improve, the cast and his thoughts on their performances, the look of the film and his thoughts on Lizzani’s legacy as a filmmaker. He spends the bulk of this extras running time talking about San Babila ore 20: un delitto inutile.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, how this film defies genres and there is not another film like it, Ennio Morricone’s score for the film, fascism in Italy and how it has changed over the years, the political tone of the film and the significance of this film’s main location San Babila, anti-Semitism in Italian cinema, how the film was based on actual events and how the director used many non-professional actors to make the film feel like a documentary and key moments in the film, most notably the ending.
Also included with this release is a booklet that includes an informative essay titled ‘Carlo Lizzani – an Italian Director’ written by Christian KeBler. This essay is presented in dual text, English and German. This release also comes with multi-lingual menus, English and German. Overall Camera Obscura continues to raise the bar with their exceptional Italian genre cinema releases, highly recommended.
Note: Camera Obscura are also releasing this film on DVD.