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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2004
To achieve a masterpiece with no main character and a jarring non-chronological storyline, Rosi borrowed documentary techniques and the attitude of a journalist.
He and his film crew descended on Sicily to tell the story of the notorius seperatist/mafia thug and bandit Giuliano.
But instead of bringing a cast, Rosi recruited locals. These were people who could authentically portray Sicily and the context surrounding Giuliano's killing.
The result is mezmerizing. Rosi captures sunbleached Sicily and it's people masterfully.
What's more, his refusal to tie the storyline neatly together allows him to show the maddening intricacies of Italian and Sicilian politics.
As the movie opens, we see Giuliano dead. We see him again several times throughout the film, always in his white rain coat, clutching a rifle and scrambling from one moutain hideout to the next.
But the movie itself is only anecdotally concerned with Giuliano. Instead, the viewer follows the course of Sicily's history and what Giuliano's deeds and death reveal about the island's political structure.
In the brilliant commentary track, Peter Cowie points out that some of the political subtleties and loose ends that Rosi uncovered with this film are still under investigation. Specifically, the May Day massacre of Sicilian communists may have been a Christian Democrat operation with ties to the mafia.
The fact that Rosi's film is 40 years ahead of historians is instructive. As Cowie says, this is investigative filmaking.
So with such an authentic artful recreation and a facinating commentary track, this DVD comes recommended.
However, viewers who tend to dislike disjointed, non-chronological, narratives or do not have the patience to soak in this film's nuance should probably stay away.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2004
Face down in a pair of khakis and a bloodstained white undershirt lays Salvatore Giuliano after having been gunned down by law enforcement in Sicily on a summer morning in 1950. This is the beginning that Rosi portrays as he informs the audience of what happened to Salvatore Giuliano, the infamous bandit and freedom fighter. The film uses flashbacks in order to repaint the truth of the matter regarding what led to Giuliano's death, and the story begins with Giuliano becoming an outlaw by killing a police man in 1943. He was later recruited as a Colonel to support the separatist party as he went on to fight for Sicily's freedom. In Sicily, Giuliano had the reputation of a man that took from the rich and gave to the poor, but on the mainland he was portrayed as an outlaw. When Sicily received its independence all political criminals were given amnesty, but Giuliano and his followers were denounced the right of amnesty. Instead of being captured Giuliano returned to the mountains with his men where they continued to live, but now as bandits. The account that Rosi depicts through his cinematic direction brings the audience back and forth between 1945 and 1950 after Giuliano's death and to a court hearing for Giuliano's group that was tied to a massacre where 11 were killed and 27 were injured. Throughout the court hearing new information surfaces that involves the Mafia, local police, and the Carabinieris, and the evidence suggests that there was something sinister about the death of Salvatore Giuliano.
Under the direction of Rosi the audience experiences a new take on Italian neo-realism as Rosi actually brings the audience to the location of the true events as he tells his filmed version of what happened to Salvatore Giuliano. Rosi depicts the true events with equal proportion from different sides in the story. It never becomes an idolization of Giuliano as Rosi cleverly only uses close up shots of Giuliano when he is dead and the rest of the shots are from a distance where one can never make out his face. However, this adds an element of mystery around Giuliano, which is okay as his true story never can be told after his true memoirs seem to have been stolen. A side note is that Rosi was slightly harassed by the local people and police force, was blackmailed, and had to report what he filmed on a daily basis as he worked. Despite Rosi's struggles in Sicily he mustered his creative skill and filmed a film that has taken a unique spot in film history as it pushes the envelope for political cinema.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2004
I don't usually praise this kinda thing but it has to be said. This the best DVD transfer I have ever seen on a film. Criterion did an incredible job with this dvd. It's amazing. Amazing doesn't even do it justice. After seeing this I wish Criterion Collection owned the DVD rights to every movie ever made.
I'll admit this film is hard to follow due to the way it was edited and peiced together. It took me a couple of viewings to just take it all in and there is alot to take in. Luckily It was so entertaining that I did not mind watching it a few times at all. Actually this film gets better the more you watch it.
Off the batt, some scenes stood out so much that you could really tell what other directors were influenced by this film. Francis Ford Coppolla is the most obvious one. I'll let you figure out the others for yourself.
This film has some of the best camera work I've ever seen. Way better then Antonioni's "L'aaventura." This film deserves the praise that "L'aaventura" gets. Even more actually. The acting is strong but to be honest with you you don't really pay much attention to the acting. The visuals in this film alone are so powerful that they leave you in awe. It was too hard for me to focus on the story the first time. I was too busy drooling over the camerawork.
I don't wanna write any more about this film. The more I write the more time you waste reading and not watching. Instead of trying to make sense of all this poor grammar you should be watching this film. Go now!!! Watch!! Don't waste anymore time. Amazon will still be here when you get back.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2004
I had never seen SALVATORE GIULIANO before watching the DVD, though I was aware of its reputation as a key work in Italian cinema of the 1960s. It turned out to be one of the most stunningly crafted and compelling films I've seen in quite a while, fully deserving of the deluxe 2-disc treatment Criterion has given it. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Rosi's film is that we hardly see the outlaw Salvatore Giuliano himself--the focus is instead on the society around him--his cohorts, the carabinieri, the judicial system and the Sicilian villagers. Through the phenomenon of Giuliano, we get an eye-opening look at the post-war political and social situation in Sicily. The flashback structure is complicated and some of the historical references may be obscure to the casual viewer, but Criterion's intelligently chosen supplements, including Peter Cowie's audio commentary track, do a great job of setting the context. The world-class black-and-white cinematography is by Gianni Di Venanzo, who also photographed Fellini's 8 1/2; Criterion's meticulous transfer is a pleasure to watch just in itself. Take a chance on SALVATORE GIULIANO--you won't be disappointed.
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on March 20, 2014
The movie is about a massacre that occurred in Sicily. It is a two disc set, one telling the sad story of the event, the other how the director chose to film, using people from the town and only two professional actors. I suggest one watch the movie first, as the acting makes even more sense when you watch the second disc. This introduced a brilliant director that I was unfamiliar with before.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2008
After World War II, as borders were being redefined, dozens of countries found themselves in social turmoil, leading to attempted revolutions and a few gains. In Sicily, one Salvatore Giuliano was asked to join the resistance against the Italian fascists still trying to hold the land after the completion of the war. Giuliano was mostly successful at upsetting the rule of the fascists, in the meantime garnering the respect and admiration of the populace but developing many institutional enemies. This movie starts on the day of his assassination, then through flash forwards and backflashes analyzes the conspiracy behind how Giuliano came to die. Nothing and nobody is left out of scrutiny, from the fascists to the police to the mob to the resistance to the populace.

This is a piece of political filmmaking, the type which is an honest document to that post-war trend of social revolution in small countries and the dire consequences it had, not to mention the disturbing connotations felt by the conspiratorial nature of the ultimate fall of revolutionary leaders. The first half of the film shows mostly the historical events as they took place, and then the second half revolves mostly around a trial in which everyone's role in the events are put into question: an intriguing concept in a movie because it undermines the theory of the camera as "all-seeing". Giuliano as a character is never seen except dead. It is impossible to hear what he has to say for himself. We are left only with the history of events and the interpretations of the community and spectators, only that their opinions are subtly twisted by institutional hegemony, the status quo. Sound a little familiar to anything that may be happening today? This is the type of movie that needs reappraisal every few years for re-asking that very same question.

Meanwhile, despite the deconstruction of the role of the camera in recording "the truth", it is nevertheless used to awesome effect: the photography of this movie is absolutely gorgeous. Ironically, all of the action is set against a spectacular Sicilian backdrop that almost overshadows the actions and drama of the minuscule humans that inhabit it. In a way, there's an undertone of the theme of impermanence in the whole movie via the visuals, as the most striking images often involve the lack of humans completely.

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on August 15, 2015
I was not happy with the format and the way the film was presented. Sub title are hard to follow and read as the movie goes on.

The delivery of the item was timely and the product came in good condition.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2005
My son (a film editor) recommended that I watch Criterion films. He told me that I would be stunned by the story and by the nonprofessional actors in Salvatore Guiliani. I am still stunned. The interviews and commentary are also excellent.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2005
more than the movie itself, I found the interviews very interesting. The director and his collaborators and other critics are featured, which actually reveal very interesting details on the writing, preparation, and production. There is also a vintage newsreel from 1950, and from the actual real photographs of Giuliano and the sicilian village, you could see how realistic was the film set. One of a kind. They don't make movie directors like this anymore.
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on April 26, 2015
Good product
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