I must start by saying that Le Goût de la Violence is wonderful gem of a little film. Those who know me would probably guess I would love this film, I know its a selfish feeling but it seems Hossein made the film for my personal taste.
Written by Hossein himself, got the pure simplicity of greatness, a love story a tragic drama, a political statemant, all that in a wonderful study on humam behavier and condition, with every character portraiting a specific role showing the most important feelings that in the end makes us what we are ... humans, love, hate, greed, courage, sorrow and so on. For instance I liked the part that Perez sister represented, how she tried to conveced her brother to give up, and how she end up killed by the hands of her brother's enemies, wich make her a enemy of them, no mercy for my enemies.
The story is set in some non specific place in Central America, I would risk to say somewhere in the South of Mexico or beyond, but that its not important. Still Hossein makes one reference to Zapata, near the end of the film in the scene we see the row of hanged man near the church, Perez says to one of the hanged man "Emiliano", in what seems to be a specific reference to Emiliano Zapata. Its common knowledge that Zapata and Villa were both allies during the revolutionary war in Mexico, but while Villa (also with Indian blood) represented the small tierratenientes/landlords of Northern Mexico, and had more conventional demands, Zapata represented and fought for the native people of Southern Mexico (Chiapas) and their struggle for land against the rich landlords of the region, and of course for the self determination of the native people. He was indeed betrayed by someone that was infiltrated among his man, that 's how they caught him with the help of a traitor, and he was indeed hanged.
To know a bit more about the Mexican revolution, this could be a small, very small introduction to the matter
This is a bold statement, but I would dare to say that the film was a major influence in Leone's posterior work, in Perez I can see somehing of Bronson harmonica man character even in Coburn of Giu la testa, also like in Leone's work, Kurosawa was also a big influence for Hossein direction style in this film, the same solenitude always present in the Japonese master work, is also visible here, so Cemetery whithout crosses didn't happen just by chance. And there's some overwhelming scenes, like the one they tell the mother that her son is dead, or how the townfolks stalk them to the corn field, and they had to set it on fire to escape, that just one scene tells more about the revolution and what really matters than so many intelectual works with their meaningless messages. I also don't see any Nouvelle Vague elements in the film, something that you could expect for a 1961 French film, Clouzot yes, but still quite an unique direction style, maybe some counterpoint message about the political situation of France at the time, with the troubles before in Indochina and happening at the time in Algeria, but to be honest that doesn't seem to be Hossein 's intention.
The technicall stuf is also great, the camera doesn't move more than necessary, there's some great framings , and the black and white is filmed in all his glory, the soundtrack made by Hossein senior is just beautiful. Every scene is made with a build up tension that is so rare to see these days, its all about feelings like Fuller once said
It got some fantastic landscapes, it was filmed in Montenegro so maybe forumate Djvaso can help about the locations, at least for the Cathedral scene.
For many years I though that Hossein was just the guy from those Angelique flicks or from the French Police thrillers, or that Adorf was only in some weird German flicks after watching the Tin Drum in some TV night session. Thank God for the Internet to show me the all picture. Both actors are perfect in their roles, no overacting no nothing, even the unknown actor who played Chico was good in his naifness, and Giovana Ralli was lovely as ever in Black and white, like someone you could fall in love to easy. Hossein must be the better actor I know portraing the same mood, in the end being good that way must be real something.
A small masterpiece, that to my shame I only had the chance to watch now, I have to pay more attention to all the films Hossein directed, this one is a winner by any accounts, it shows in the most beautiful and poetic way the true meaning of human condition, no philosophies, no hidden agendas no panflets, just pure human nature in less than 90m.
My favourite scene? Well maybe that one with both man and woman in the beach before receiving the news that will separate them, but the all film is great.
I agree with Stanton its not a SW, not even a Western, its of no importance, but for me SW is the general classification for all those films made after the first one directed by Michael Carreras, in Spain, Italy, Yugoslavia, Israel, Eurowesterns, it doesn't matter, all are specifications/subsidiaries from the real name SW, even those DDR made films .
But I got a problem, this is just to good to not be in my Top 20, so I will go agaisnt my own non relevant opinion, and I will draw a new line for SW, starting from this one, it does have Adorf and Hossein, so by offical Topo's decree Le Goût de la Violence it's now a SW, for me at least, and it will go straight to my top 20.
Why this small wonder doesn't have a propper release with so many shit beeing edited, is just something I can't understand. I know we are living in a major crisis in this small part of the world, ruled by some non elected unknown authority that represents God knows what, but still I can assure at least 5 sales of a DVD from this one ( me Pereira and Emanuel, and another two friends I know would buy it), its a poor commercial objective I know, but its a start