F.: Mario Craveri. M.: Mario Serandrei. Mus.: Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. Prod.: Lux film. DCP. Col
Gras and Craveri’s L’impero del sole is a fairly successful film, which manages to alternate moments of pure poetry (digressions, one could say) with more lively and dramatic moments in which people’s lives are narrated through carefully selected sequences. However, the real character of the Peruvian people remains a mystery … When L’impero del sole ends, we would like to see still more, given that the amazing bullfight with the condor at the very end fills us with joy and enthusiasm. We would like to know more about these people, indifferent to both struggle and joy, who react only to the exuberance of sex and excitation. But even so, the images in this film are wonderful. Craveri has given us a wealth of them: wide and incredibly airy images of woods, lands, deserts and seas; skies full of thousands and thousands of birds; tall and rocky mountains; and, in a bullring full of dust, sweat and passion, he has shown us the most tragic of struggles in which a condor slowly exhausts an infuriated bull. The condor represents the people of the Andes and the bull, Spanish domination. At the end of the fight, the condor returns to the skies, taking with it hopes and desires. The Sunday depicted by the film seems to be at an end; but by this point, we would like the week to begin anew.
Edoardo Bruno, “Filmcritica”, n. 62-63, September-October 1956
In this film, compared to previous similar ones, we have tried to get closer to man, to go deeper into his folklore to capture its most intimate significance and human value. There is more of an investigation, more research. We didn’t simply go into the street and limit ourselves to filming what we saw there. We saw things and then studied them, before deciding what to put into the film. You can capture scenes like this, in secret, but not entire sequences. There is always a minimum of performance, because it involves recreation, and therefore choice and synthesis, discarding that which does not interest us in order to make other things more evident. The things you see in the film are not invented. Nothing is invented. Interpreted, yes; presented from our point-of-view, but real.
Enrico Gras and Mario Craveri, “Rivista del cinematografo”, n. 9-10, September-October 1956