ENZO G. CASTELLARI | Offscreen
Enzo G. Castellari (° 1938) made his mark on cinema history with a series of genre films in which he played with the rules of Italian exploitation and B-movies. He distinguished himself with a rebellious editing style and frequent use of slow motion in action scenes (obtained by shooting with three cameras recording at different speeds). Castellari broke out in the 1960s with the spaghetti western genre, to which he also contributed the late cult classic “Keoma” (1976), but he will forever be identified with post-apocalyptic science fiction (“1990: The Bronx Warriors” and “Escape from the Bronx”) and violent police thrillers or poliziotteschi (“Street Law” and “The Big Racket”), which mirrored the political and social turmoil of Italy's “Anni di piombo” ("Years of Lead") era. More recently, his 1978 war movie "The Inglorious Bastards" provided inspiration for the title of Quentin Tarantino's “Inglourious Basterds” (2009), though the two films have little else in common.
The first collaboration between Castellari and actor Franco Nero is one of the pivotal entries in the “poliziotteschi” genre. Expect brutal murders, lengthy shout-outs with machine guns, stylishly choreographed action scenes, socio-political turmoil, drug dealers, and a hot-tempered police officer.
Crime and police corruption were rife in 1970s Italy. An engineer (Franco Nero) is taken hostage during a violent robbery. But the police don't care about justice and drop the case, so he takes the law into his own hands. A mix between poliziotteschi and spaghetti western by the “European Sam Peckinpah”.
This Italian rip-off of “Jaws” proves diabolically effective. Astute camera work and a catchy soundtrack mix with unintentionally funny scenes in which the supposedly deadly beast looks more like an inflatable shark or a sick dolphin. An irresistible guilty pleasure!
A violent cop goes in search for a rich teenager (played by Stefania Girolami, Castellari's daughter) who went missing in the Bronx, now a “no man's land” run by fearsome motorcycle gangs. This hilarious hotch-potch of “Mad Max ”, “Escape From New York” and “The Warriors” is purest camp!
When a large corporation wants to “clean up” the Bronx, the local gangs react by starting a war. The non-stop violence reaches insane heights in this science-fiction movie disguised as a spaghetti western, the sequel to “1990: The Bronx Warriors”.
In a quiet Italian town, criminals extort money from local store owners by menacing them with rape and violence. But the victims team up to fight back, resulting in epic brutality, explosive twists, and a vigilante-style shoot-out. Castellari considers the ending to be the best one he ever shot.