Jolly Cinema > 10:15


Renato Castellani
Introduced by

Silvia d’Amico and Emiliano Morreale


Thursday 02/07/2015


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Inspired by an event that actually happened in Calabria at the end of the Second World War, the film tells the story of young Michele Rende who becomes an outlaw in spite of himself because unfairly accused of murder. Adapted from Giuseppe Berto’s novel of the same name, it is “the first appreciable peasant film made in Italy” (Lino Micciché). The ASAC archive’s copy is the only trace of the longer version of the film, which the producer cut after the Venice Film Festival for commercial reasons. There are over thirty extra minutes. “Il brigante is a watershed work in Renato Castellani’s career. It was a long and arduous process with ten months of shooting in a troubled Calabria, as emphasized by reporters. In the running in 1961 at the XXII Venice Film Festival, it only won the FIPRESCI award. It came out in theaters in mid-September but in a shorter version: 143 minutes against 180. According to press from the time, Castellani appears to have consented to the cut of over thirty minutes: it was also an edit that did not disfigure Il brigante. In fact, individual sequences are meticulously honed, and no entire section of the narrative is removed. Due to its failure (335 million against a budget of 265 million), the film compromised the director’s career. In the 1960s Castellani often resorted to commission work before finding success again in television productions with Vita di Leonardo (1971). Il brigante at the time received respectful reviews, not enthusiastic and almost never caustic, even when summary: after all Castellani enjoyed the due respect of someone who had won the Golden Lion seven years before. But historians spoke rarely of him thereafter. In fact, it was a film that was not seen again, which was partially due to it rarely appearing in television and no homevideo edition ever being made of it” (Alberto Pezzotta).

Emiliano Morreale

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Giuseppe Berto. Scen.: Renato Castellani. F.: Armando Nannuzzi. M.: Jolanda Benvenuti. Mus.: Nino Rota. Int.: Adelmo Di Fraia (Michele Rende), Francesco Seminario (Nino Stigliano), Serena Vergano (Miliella, sorella di Nino), Anna Filippini (Giulia Ricadi), Giovanni Basile (appuntato Fimiani), Elena Gestito (madre di Nino), Francesco Mascaro (Bovone), Angela Sirianni (nonna di Nino), Salvatore Moscianese (don Francesco), Renato Terra (Carmelo). Prod.: Cineriz, Rizzoli Film · DCP. Bn.