The Mattei Affair
Il caso Mattei
Castro TheatreSun, May 5, 2013 1:30 PM Not Available
Film Info
Section:World Cinema
Premiere Status:Italy
Year of Prod:1972
Running Time:116
Original Language:Italian
dir:Francesco Rosi
prod:Franco Cristaldi
scr:Francesco Rosi
Tonino Guerra
Tito Di Stefano
Nerio Minuzzo
cam:Pasqualino De Santis
editor:Ruggero Mastroianni
mus:Piero Piccioni
cast:Gian Maria Volonté
Luigi Squarzina
Peter Baldwin
source:Cineteca di Bologna
photo:Everett Collection

“Oil makes governments fall, creates revolutions and determines world balance,” declares the doomed protagonist of Rosi’s crackling political thriller about Italy’s legendary postwar energy czar Enrico Mattei, whose attempts to revolutionize world oil control may (or may not) have led to his death in a mysterious 1962 plane crash. “The most powerful Italian since Caesar,” Mattei railed against American and Western European oil monopolies, created alliances with Third World nations (“Mao is right,” he said), and brought Italy a measure of economic self-control through his own oil deals. “In a few words, he could upset the world balance, something the war couldn’t even accomplish,” notes one reporter in Rosi’s incendiary, fractured and seething fictionalized account, a Citizen Kane of the Enron world brought to life through an extraordinary performance by Gian-Maria Volonte as a man consumed—and possibly destroyed—by power. Called “a seldom seen, massively underrated masterpiece,” by director Alex Cox.
-Jason Sanders, Pacific Film Archive Calendar

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata in association with The Film Foundation, Paramount Pictures, and Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino. Restoration funded by Gucci, Eni, and The Film Foundation.


Additional Information

Francesco Rosi

The recipient of the San Francisco International Film Festival’s 1997 Akira Kurosawa Award, Francesco Rosi (b. 1922, Naples, Italy) began his career as an assistant director on Luchino Visconti’s La terra trema (1948). After making his directorial debut in 1957 with The Challenge (1957), he went on to make over a four-decade career such films as The Swindlers (1959), Salvatore Giuliano (1962), Hands over the City (1963), The Mattei Affair (1973), Lucky Luciano (1974), Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979), Three Brothers (1980), Carmen (1984), Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1987) and The Truce (1997). “One of the geniuses of Italian cinema that emerged from the postwar Neorealist renaissance, Francesco Rosi is nonetheless in a class all his own,” writes Kent Jones. “His political and social dramas resonate with a force of a man whose convictions are unwavering, yet whose understanding of human strength and frailties softens his polemics. For Rosi, cinema is a lifelong exploration of morality.”