ITALIAN WESTERNS IN TUCSON, ARIZONA

If you find yourself in the American Southwest during the month of August, please feel free to visit The Loft Cinema in Tucson, any Sunday. You’ll find me there, deosa volenti, introducing four of what I think are the best of these films, and hawking copies of my book, 10,000 Ways To Die – about Italian Westerns.

The films are FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, screening on Sunday 5 August; Lizzani’s REQUIESCANT, screening the following Sunday; Questi’s SE SEI VIVO SPARA / DJANGO KILL! on 19 August, and Corbucci’s IL GRANDE SILENZIO / THE BIG SILENCE on the 26th.

IL GRANDE SILENZIO is a new HD transfer and looks very nice: it’s Corbucci’s masterpiece, and one of a bleak handful of Westerns-in-the-Snow. You’ve perhaps seen DJANGO KILL! on DVD or even VHS, but the experience of watching this insane and brilliant picture in the theatre cannot be beat. REQUIESCANT is almost as demented, with a fabulous cast of villains and a Pier Paolo Pasolini in a supporting role, as a revolutionary priest.

If you’re in Tucson, come on by!

Cox and Lizzani, 1984(The illustrative image, by the way, is of my younger self shaking hands with Carlo Lizzani, director of REQUIESCANT. He was directing a play in Rome. I had just made REPO MAN, my first film. Perhaps you can see my Jesse Jackson for President badge… Lizzani was a very gracious man to waste time shaking hands with such a bozo when he had his play to attend.)

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ITALIAN WESTERN DIRECTORS

I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting Sergio Leone or Sergio Corbucci (Del Zamora has a very funny and desperate story about being Leone’s minder at a Latino CInema event in Los Angeles, but he must be the one to tell it). When I first went to Italy – to attend the Torino festival – the Sergios were alive and I got their numbers and called both their homes. Luckily for them they were out. Less fortunate was Carlo Lizzani, who was directing a play in Rome and agreed to meet me at the theatre.

Cox and Lizzani, 1984

What a generous man he was, to put up with a young jarhead fan who wanted to talk about his great film REQUIESCANT. Since then I have revisited his earlier Western THE HILLS RUN RED, which I’d unfairly dismissed as “in the American style”. It’s really in Lizzani’s style with lashings of politics and action and great compositions – both are really worth seeing. As I recall, we licensed REQUIESCANT for Moviedrome, together with Corbucci’s IL GRANDE SILENZIO and DJANGO, and the most insane Western of them all, SE SEI VIVO SPARA / DJANGO KILL. Some twenty years later I went to Venice to screen SEARCHERS 2.0 and participate in a celebration of the Italian Western. I met various maestri there, including Giulio Petroni and Enzo Castellari, and Lizzani again, and the wonderful Giulio Questi, director of SE SEI VIVO SPARA. Here are Questi and I, flanked by Roberto Silvestri, Manifesto journalist, and Marco Guisti, author of the Italian Western Bible.

Questi_Bunch

That’s it! I just wanted to share those pictures. Lizzani died two years ago, aged 91. Questi died last year, aged 90. IMDB lists Lizzani as having seventy directorial credits (including documentaries and TV). Questi has 17 credits, mostly TV dramas. His three feature films, DJANGO KILL, DEATH LAID AND EGG, and ARCANA, are all remarkable.