Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental

Does the name Susy Lion ring a bell? Probably not.
In 1973, Susy was part of an obscure band called "Susi and Guy", picked up by Guido & Maurizio de Angelis for a couple of songs included in their soundtrack for Milano Trema: la polizia vuole giustizia (Violent Professionals - Sergio Martino).
On the B-side of their 45 rpm, Susy sings in Italian a nice, lighthearted yet melancholic song called "And life goes on".

A memorable scene from the film opens on a lovely sunny morning, with Susy singing about her lover who has gone. The camera embraces a vast place in the center of Milan. Traffic is fluid and nice colourful cars zoom through the frame.
A taxi stops. An elegant middle-aged man gets off.
A few yards away, a woman walks up the stairs out of the tube station. She's carrying a shopping bag with fruits and vegetables. Before crossing the street, she puts her hair back in place.
Opposite the street, another woman is looking at a bakery's window while eating an ice cream.
Further down the street, a guy is sitting on a bench, reading the newspaper.

The guy who had got off the taxi now crosses the street. He knows where he's going. He is il comissario Del Buono. We know this from a previous scene in the film. And this police inspector is on a serious case, close to solve a big investigation.

As the love song goes on, we see a few kids cycling amongst the shadows of a building's pillars, in the background.
The man with the newspaper has left the bench. We follow him walking swiftly through the street.
Cut to inspector Del Buono, walking in the opposite direction. They're going to cross each other.
Kids in the background, woman with her shopping bag, the inspector's face, close up on the guy with the newspaper, close up on the newspaper hiding a gun, Del Buono's face, the guy with the paper shoots the gun as Del Buono walks to him, bang bang, woman screams and drops her shopping bag, Del Buono falls down on the pavement, a guy is running to help him, the newspaper man jumps into a car and in a second, he's gone.
Woman screaming. Guy bending over the body of inspector Del Buono. A few fruits roll out of the shopping bag before slowly coming to a stop.
Del Buono is lying on the ground. Dead.

Susy goes on singing about her lover who has gone.

This was Sergio Martino's personal take on the real murder of Inspector Luigi Calabresi in 1972, in the aftermath of the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing in Milan.
Of course it's not meant to be historically exact, but it is an obvious example of the fact that "Violent Professionals", like most polizieschi, was built on the particular context of the Italian "anni di piombo" ("years of lead"). Another example is the key role of a publisher (played by Richard Conte) in subversive activities in the film: a striking connection with the real publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli who participated in radical left-wing activism in those days.
Although often simplistic, Poliziesco was definitely a political cinema genre.

1 comment:

Stephen Grimes said...

I love this song and if i'm right it's called Blue Song and was a bit of a hit here in France.