Indagine suun cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto

(1970)
(Investigation of a citizen above suspicion.) Film. One of the most entertaining as well as disturbing police-political thrillers of the the early 1970s, Investigation was directed by Elio Petri and starred Gian Maria Volonte in one of his most impressive performances. Stylishly photographed by Luigi Kuveiller and punctuated by a whimsically ironic musical score by Ennio Morricone, the film tells the story of an unnamed police inspector, recently promoted from head of homicide to the Political Division, who kills his beautiful lover in cold blood, intentionally leaving numerous and obvious clues. In the investigation that follows, he plays a cynical game of cat and mouse with his former colleagues by both prompting them toward the truth and, at the same time, using his new position in the Political Division to point them in the direction of a young left-wing activist who lived in the same building as the woman. He clearly enjoys his feeling of power and invulnerability when the other detectives follow the clues along their logical path but then, deferential to his status and authority, refuse to draw the obvious conclusion. In the end he appears to tire of the game and disdainfully confesses to the crime. However, in the (imagined?) meeting with his political superiors that closes the film, he is exonerated rather than punished and they clasp him to their bosom as one of their own. A quotation from Franz Kafka introduces the credits: "Whatever impression he makes on us, he is the servant of the Law. He belongs to the Law and is not answerable to human judgment."
   The film's truculent caricature of the police and its openly voiced cynicism toward politicians well reflected the widespread mistrust of constituted authority in Italy at the time, a distrust that would only increase in the following so-called leaden years. However, the film also found a warm reception abroad, being nominated for two Oscars, a Golden Globe, and the Palme d'or. In the event it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and received the International Federation of Film Critics Prize and the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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  • Indagine suun cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto — (1970) (Investigation of a citizen above suspicion.) Film. One of the most entertaining as well as disturbing police political thrillers of the the early 1970s, Investigation was directed by Elio Petri and starred Gian Maria Volonte in one of his …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

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