Skip to content
The Mattei Affair – 1972 Rosi
- Francesco Rosi’s The Mattei Affair centers around the mysterious plane crash of real life business tycoon and leader Enrico Mattei
- Rosi’s film is no straight biopic or docudrama— he uses the crash as the center point and bounces the narrative around that event, before and after. His collage is a little tough to get a hold off at first- he’s cutting to the exterior of a high rise at night, a wall full of televisions… in some scenes it is a flashback of Gian Maria Volente (from A Fistful of Dollars– almost unrecognizable here as the cleanly shaven Mattei) in a traditional biopic. In others, Rosi himself is seen on screen interviewing people. “I’m making of movie of Mattei”
- Rosi utilities these leering camera zooms to help ratchet up the paranoia and conspiracy. This is just one year after Pakula’s Klute and before The Parallax View and All the President’s Men.
- Strong pulsating score by Piero Piccioni
- Tied with The Working Class Goes to Heaven from Elio Petri for the Palme d’Or
- Mattei is a great a character- the baron of methane—some quote in the film (which is superb) called him “the most powerful Italian since Julius Caesar”
- Some archive footage
- Great shot at the 28-minute mark of men gazing in awe at the rise of the gas (above)
- Erudite and dense
- There are a pair of these really poor, really awkward, freeze frames and transitions
- A zoom in on Mattei giving a speech on a balcony at the 93-minute mark, later, Rosi’s camera slowly floats in (via zoom) in on a newspaper headline (he’s on screen flipping through) about whether or not Mattei was murdered.
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1972