After Bernardo Bertolucci (Il Conformista/The Conformist) and Roberto Rossellini (La Macchina Ammazzacattivi/ The Machine to Kill Bad People), Elio Petri is the third Italian director to be featured in a special screening this year in Cannes Classics. L’Assassino (The Assassin) is a critique of political and police power in Italy during the 1960s. Marcello Mastroianni plays Alfredo Martelli, a dishonest antique dealer who uses and abuses unscrupulous methods to get rich and to discredit his rivals. When the police knock on his door one morning and arrest him, he thinks his swindling has caught up with him. But what brings him into custody is a different story: Adalgisa, his former mistress, has been murdered.
Made in 1961, The Assassin was Elio Petri’s first feature film, after making two short films (Nasce Un Campione, 1954 and I Sette Contadini, 1957). "As soon as you are up against the authorities, you are guilty,” Petri said in 1974. “I was censored for this film. I was forced to make ninety changes to it."
The director has received many awards in Cannes, including the Prize for Best Screenplay for A Ciascuno il Suo (1967), the Jury's Special Grand Prix for Indagine su un cittadino al di Sopra di Ogni Sospetto (1970) and the Grand Jury Prize for La classe Operaia va in Paradiso (1972).
The film was restored by Gian Luca Farinelli, of the Bologne Cineteca, and by Alberto Barbera, the director of the Torino Museo Nazionale del Cinema, who was a member of the Feature Film Jury alongside Tim Burton in 2010.
The film will be screened at 8 p.m., Salle Buñuel.