Bandit’s Skin/Pelle di Bandito (1969)

“The idea came to Adriano Asti and his wife who was also a script writer. They came to me and said; “Let’s make a film inspired by Mesina”. So we wrote the screenplay. The film did quite well, Cineriz picked it up for distribution. The production crew didn’t see any money but the film took in around eighty million lira. In 1969 it was entered in the XXX Venice Film Festival, in the category ‘Rising stars of Italian cinema’ with some degree of success. It was shown in cinemas all across Italy.” (Interview with Piero Livi, La Nuova Sardegna 12.01.2008 – Marco Navone)

I shot that film (Bandit’s Skin) with a great director of photography, Aristide Massaccesi, who later went by the name of Joe D’Amato. That was his first film in 35mm and he really was exceptional because that film was all shot with a handheld camera. People ask me, “Did you have steadicams in those days? It all looks like it was shot with a steadicam”. But it was all shot handheld, it was exceptionally modern. Riccardo Cucciolla was in charge of dubbing on the film and he told me, “This is a film from the future”. I shot it in 1969 and it still holds interest because of its dynamism. Unlike Carlo Lizzani, who was also dealing with the same subject matter with Barbagia, he based his work on various newspaper stories, as you usually do when you’re making that kind of film… While he, in some way, was interested in the argument on this side of the fence, I climbed over the fence and really tried to capture the day-to-day life of a bandit. In fact, the real title of the film, because the distributor Cineriz came up with the title Bandit’s Skin…. The real title is Dying, Day by Day“. (Video interview with Piero Livi, Asuni Film Festival, 2012)

pelle di bandito - locandina cleanedv1

Locandina

Bandit’s Skin really is an amateur film and, in some respects, it’s very well made. I guess I deserve some credit for managing to imitate a commercial movie with scarce and insufficient resources. With Bandit’s Skin I tried to tell a story, through a young man who becomes a bandit obliged to commit an act of vengeance dictated by the codes of honor his people followed. And then, funded by unknown people, he takes to kidnapping – this is a typical situation of the times. The film doesn’t set out to accuse anyone, it’s simply the story of real men in the real world”. (Interview with Piero Livi, Giuseppe Fara, 2013-14)

 

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