“El Chuncho”, the crazy game against the backdrop of the Mexican revolution


Chanshu It represents an important date in the history of Italian cinema. The 1967 film Damiano Damiani opened a series of Western films depicting the Mexican Revolution as an allegory of struggles against imperialism in the Third World. Beyond that, it illustrates a unique way, typical of the best cross-alpine production of today, of willingly mixing spectacle and reflection, a somewhat frivolous lyricism and an abstract dialectical vision.

Originally there is a small production company from Emilia Romagna, MCM directed by Bianco Mannini, screenplay by Salvatore Lurani and directed by Damiano Damiani, to date author mainly of “literary adaptations for cinema” (Taboo Island According to Elsa Morante, Boredom and transformative eroticism After Alberto Moravia). Damiani entrusts the screenplay to Franco Solinas who, with the help of the director, will give it its final version, imposing on the story a political dimension that is not excluded from the echo of contemporary history.

A Mexican thief (Gian Maria Volonte) who supplies stolen weapons to a legendary revolutionary leader accepts a young American (Le Castel) with mysterious origins into his gang. The alien, without understanding the real purpose of the alien, befriends a hitman in the service of the established government. Franco Solinas, who started his career in the early 1950s, had just signed a screenplay Battle of Algeria By Luigi Pontecorvo and Especially in the West by Sergio SolimaColorado, which contained in germ the principle of the story on which the screenwriter was going, for several years, to play many variations.

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A metaphorical view of imperialism

Two men of different origins, one Western, the other poor citizen of the Third World victim of colonialism, compete, confront each other, and end up allying themselves or remaining enemies, prisoners of their class belonging. and their individual influence. This pattern will later be repeated in other titles of Solinas’s text: Western Zapatistas (mercenaries by Sergio Corbucci, Three to slaughter by Giulio Petroni) or Forward Educational Historical Film (burnt by Jello Pontecorvo). All these titles, however openly commercial, would offer an allegorical vision of imperialism while questioning, even shaking, the spectator’s ability to identify with the characters who are irreducible in their unique psychological construction.

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