Directed by Marco Ferreri • 1969 • Italy
Starring Michel Piccoli, Anita Pallenberg, Gino Lavagetto
In this magnificently inscrutable late-sixties masterpiece, Marco Ferreri, one of European cinema’s most idiosyncratic auteurs, takes us through the looking glass to one seemingly routine night in the life of an Italian gas mask designer, played, in a tour de force performance, by New Wave icon Michel Piccoli. In his claustrophobic mod home, he pampers his pill-popping wife, seduces his maid, and uncovers a gun that may have once been owned by John Dillinger—and then things get even stranger. A surreal political missive about social malaise, DILLINGER IS DEAD (DILLINGER È MORTO) finds absurdity in the mundane. It is a singular experience, both illogical and grandly existential.
The prolific French actor Michel Piccoli made six films with Marco Ferreri; DILLINGER IS DEAD was the first. In this interview, recorded in 2009, Piccoli discusses his experience working with Ferreri and what made the director a rarity in cinema.
Days after Marco Ferreri’s death in May 1997, filmmakers Francesco Rosi and Bernardo Bertolucci and film historian Aldo Tassone took part in a roundtable discussion about the director for the French television show “Le cercle de minuit.” Excerpts are presented here, including interview clips with...