Venice Film Festival

Venice’s Spaghetti Western sidebar a buffet
By Eric J. Lyman
The Hollywood Reporter

Aug 10, 2007
LOCARNO, Switzerland – The Venice Film Festival’s Secret History of Italian Cinema sidebar on Spaghetti Westerns is getting bigger, with an expanded program that will include films made before the genre’s heyday along with several contemporary films influenced by the Italian-made Westerns.

In July, festival organizers announced a lineup that included about 30 titles from the 1960s and '70s. An expanded program will now include John Ford’s newly restored 1924 silent film “The Iron Horse” – his first Western – about the transcontinental railroad, plus five recently discovered and refurbished films from famed Westerns director Budd Boetticher, including the 1959 classic “Ride Lonesome,” which starred James Coburn and Boetticher regular Randolph Scott.

The program also includes Nick Redman’s documentary “Becoming John Ford,” about the life of the influential four-time Oscar winning director, who died in 1973, two years after winning a career Golden Lion award in Venice.

Those films join a Venice program that also includes three contemporary films: the in competition world premiere of Andrew Dominik’s “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” starring Brad Pitt as Jesse James; Takashi Miike’s “Sukiyaki Western Django,” also in competition; and “Searchers 2.0,” in the Horizon’s sidebar. All three films are said to be influenced by Italian-made Westerns.

The 64th edition of the Venice festival runs Aug. 29-Sept. 8.

It just gets better.
Unfortunately they still haven’t released a timetable for the programme so I have no idea what is being shown on the days I will be there. I just figure I’ll rock along to anything I can during my 4 days and see how I go.

Searchers 2.0? Isn’t that Alex Cox’s latest film?

Have fun and don’t forget to post a detailed report here afterwards! :wink:


Wow, that’s great, Phil H. Jealous you’re getting to attend!

i’ll let you know next week whether i’ll be at the biennale or not

Well I’m there from August 31st to September 3rd. So if you can make it I’ll see you there Seb.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a hotel on the Lido where the films are being screened so I am on the main island and will have to get the water bus over everyday. Not a big hassle, it’s pretty cheap and doesn’t take long but will probably stop me getting to any midnight screenings. Oh well, I guess I’ll need to sleep sometime.
I will definitely be reviewing everything I see for the forum and generally reporting back as to what’s happening there.

I think that I won’t have time anyway…

Another Venice article:

Venice readies plate of spaghetti
Westerns highlighted at Italian fest
A solitary stranger appears out of the barren desert dragging a coffin behind him. Within minutes a dozen bodies lie piled up at his feet.

If you think this is one of Sergio Leone’s celebrated “Man With No Name” Westerns, think again: It’s the opening of Sergio Corbucci’s eerie, mournful “Django” (1966), one of 31 classic and rare Italian Westerns from the mid-1960s through early 1970s being presented by the Venice Film Festival.

The fourth installment of the festival’s “Secret History of Italian Cinema” retrospective series includes such gloriously titled gems as Carlo Lizzani’s “The Hills Run Red” and Romolo Guerrieri’s “Ten Thousand Dollars for a Massacre” – movies that more than lived up to their promise of freewheeling carnage. The official “godfather” of the series is Quentin Tarantino, who’s scheduled to appear in person to host several of the Venice screenings.

Italian popular cinema in the 1960s was pulp filmmaking at its finest, churning out literally hundreds of gothic horror movies, Maciste/Hercules muscle-man epics, James Bond rip-offs and more – but the spaghetti Western was its strangest and most wondrous creation, a phantasmagorical landscape lifted from the novels of Louis L’Amour and the German writer Karl May (who’d never seen the American West, ironically) and inspired by the films of John Ford, Anthony Mann and others.

Leone’s epochal “Fistful of Dollars” (1964), screening at Venice, wasn’t technically the first Italian Western, but it’s the one that kickstarted the worldwide craze for the films and made a star out of Clint Eastwood. With its plot taken wholesale from Akira Kurosawa’s “Yojimbo,” “Fistful” also started the tradition of spaghettis borrowing from everything in sight. The great director Budd Boetticher – whose lean Randolph Scott-starring Westerns, such as “7 Men From Now,” were an obvious template for the spaghetti Western – once recalled meeting Leone and the Italian maestro cried out: “Budd Boetticher! I stole everything from you!!”

The Venice fest is also focusing on lesser-known filmmakers of the genre such as Cesare Canevari with the wonderfully overheated “Matalo!” and Sergio Sollima’s weirdly perverse “The Big Gundown,” starring Lee Van Cleef.

Corbucci, in particular, is a fascinating filmmaker whose work is only starting to be fully appreciated with the DVD release of a number of his movies. Sometimes known as “the other Sergio,” Corbucci and actor Franco Nero created one of the most durable of spaghetti Western icons with the tight-lipped title character of Django. Ironically, the atmosphere on set was anything but grim.

“Sergio Corbucci was a man of great charisma and great humor, always full of jokes,” Nero recalls. “He would always say to the cinematographer, ‘Be sure to light Franco’s blue lakes (my eyes, of course), which will allow me to make a lot of money!’”

The two developed an almost comical shorthand for their approach to Django.

“Do you want this expression like John Wayne or like Henry Fonda?” Nero once asked Corbucci, who replied, “I want this one like Gary Cooper and the next one like Burt Lancaster, but your walk has to be like Henry Fonda.”

It’s that odd, wild, mix-and-match spirit of Italian Westerns that anticipates the movies of later directors, like John Woo and Tarantino himself, and which continues to make spaghettis a treasure-trove of discoveries for hardcore film buffs.

Research assistance by Chris D. of the American Cinematheque

Read the full article at:

Yes, the programme for the film screenings has finally been released for the Venice Film Festival so I now know what films I can see when I am there. Up til now I’ve just been waiting and hoping that my dates allow some good viewing opportunities.
My line up is:

Friday 31 August 2007

4.30 p.m. SALA VOLPI
LA RESA DEI CONTI (1967) by Sergio Sollima (110’, language: Italian/English) cast: Luisa Rivelli, Lee Van Cleef,
Tomas Milian

0.00 (midnight) SALA PERLA
KEOMA (1976) by Enzo G. Castellari (97’, language: Italian, subt. English) cast: Franco Nero, Woody
Strode, Olga Karlatos

Saturday 1 September 2007

4.45 p.m. SALA PERLA
IL RITORNO DI RINGO (1965) by Duccio Tessari (98’, language: Italian, subt. English) cast: Giuliano
Gemma, Hally Hammond, Fernando Sancho

0.00 (midnight) SALA PERLA
UN DOLLARO BUCATO (1965) by Giorgio Ferroni (96’, language: Italian, subt. English) cast: Giuliano Gemma, Ida Galli, Pierre Cressoy

Sunday 2 September 2007

0.00 (midnight) SALA PERLA
NAVAJO JOE (1966) by Sergio Corbucci (89’, language: Italian, subt. English) cast: Burt Reynolds,
Nicoletta Rangoni Machiavelli, Fernando Rey

Monday 3 September 2007
4.30 p.m. SALA VOLPI
UN FIUME DI DOLLARI (1966) by Carlo Lizzani (89’, language: Italian, subt. English) cast: Thomas Hunter,
Henry Silva, Dan Duryea, Nando Gazzolo

There is also a couple of screenings at 2 o’clock in the morning (Companeros and Four of the Apocalypse) but unless I am particularly insomniac I will probably have to give them a miss.
Unfortunately it would appear that there are more spaghettis being shown towards the end of the festival than at the beginning when I am there but on the whole I am pretty pleased with what’s on offer. My highlight will be La Resa Dei Conti. I’m really looking forward to that one.

I will also catch Alex Cox’s latest film ‘The Searchers 2.0’ on the sunday just for a bit of variety.

Rest assured I will report back on everything I see.

Phil, you are one lucky son of a gun!! ;D

I would love to be able to attend this festival!
They are showing some outstanding films (I am particularly happy that they are running $10,000 BLOOD MONEY!) and I am sure the atmosphere will be great.


Have a great time, amigo!! Will be looking forward to your reports!

[quote=“Jack Burns, post:1, topic:677”]Venice’s Spaghetti Western sidebar a buffet
By Eric J. Lyman

… from famed Westerns director Budd Boetticher, including the 1959 classic “Ride Lonesome,” which starred James Coburn and Boetticher regular Randolph Scott.[/quote]

What? No mention of LEE VAN CLEEF? Heh heh!

The fools! But, seriously, this sounds like a great festival. Wish I had the money to drop everything and fly to Venice this week…

Hi Fellas,
As you may recall I am currently visiting Venice for the film festival and Spaghetti Western retrospective. I have been here for 2 days now and this is the first chance I have had to get on the net and post an update as to what I have been up to. So much has been going on that I hardly know where to start but I figure if I begin with what I did yesterday and go from there it will make more sense.

The italians are wonderful people and live in a beautiful country but, to use and english expression, they couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery. I arrived to find that all the spaghetti westerns are for invitation only, meaning you can’t buy tickets for them at all. Your only hope if you are not an accredited visitor (press, PR etc) is to get one of the free coupons they are giving out for each screening. These coupons are illusive to say the least. It seems you need to be a personal friend of Berlusconi’s butler or something to get hold of one.

As you can imagine, after travelling all this way I was somewhat perturbed. However, I was not willing to give in so easy. Especially as the first film on offer was La Resa Dei Conti, which I have wanted to see for ever and which was the film I was most looking forward to seeing while here. So, drawing on all my east end Londoner cunning, I got myself a one day pass which allows access to the cinema complex area as a visitor only (no film entry) and then hung about outside the cinema I knew it was showing in until just before it started. Then I sidled up to the guy on the door and asked if there were any spare seats and if I could get in. In true Italian fashion he shrugged his shoulders and waved me in. Next thing you know I am sitting 3 rows from Sergio Donati who introduced the film (don’t ask what he said because it was all in italian) and had one of the best cinema experiences of my life.

La Resa Dei Conti was magnificent (I’ll write a proper review when I get back home) and was well worth the long wait and all the shenanigans I went through to get in to see it. Absolutely awesome.

Having figured out a way in to these films I went back today and pulled the same stunt to get in to see Il Ritorno de Ringo which was this time introduced by Giuliano Gemma. Again, the film was great and seeing Giuliano in the flesh was a real unexpected treat. But it got even better! After this screening I noticed that there was a free concert being held nearby by Alessandro Alessandroni where he was playing music from a variety of Italian Westerns. I hightailed it over and it was an excellent concert where he played a mixture of his own and other peoples work. Mainly Morricone actually. And then to top it all off, at the end of the concert Enzo Castellari came on stage to congratulate him. Superb!

There has been more good stuff besides but that will have to wait til tomorrow to tell you about. I am absolutely knackered and need my bed!

All in all it has been a magnificent trip and the thrills have more than outweighed the disappointments of missing some of the late night screenings. (Can’t get access to the screening area with my day pass after

Anyhow, I’ll log in again tomorrow with another update.

Ciao Amigos!

Spectacular! If I was in your shoes, I would have been completely lost and most likely wouldn’t have got into any screenings…

wish i had the money to go

Sounds like a wonderful experience, Phil H, and thanks for giving us a peak into the event.


Thanks for the report, Phil H!
Sounds like a lot of great stuff is going on over there.
I am glad you were able to get to some of it—even under such tough circumstances!
I’m looking forward to future comments from you, amigo!
Have fun!!!

Phil - Thanks so much for your post. Please let us know any of the people involved with the SW film genre you see as this will probably be the last time this will ever happen. To watch the great list of films they have put together and to see them introduced by Donati, Gemma and have Castellari and Alessandroni present must be a great thrill. I attended everything I could here in L.A. when they had the Leone Exhibit at the Autry Museum and saw Alessandroni perform 3 times and meeting him in person was a thrill of a lifetime.

To attend a Film Festival in another country and not know the language is challenging to say the least but to actually be a part of the experience and get to see these films on the big screen I’m sure is well worth the effort. Bravo upon accepting the challenge and actually acomplishing your mission.

Have a great time and post when you can.

Gracias amigo,

It’s day 3 and the fun continues.
Although to be honest a much quiter one on the movie front as there is only one spaghetti on show today; Navajo Joe, being screened at midnight. If you read yesterdays post you will know that up til now I have had to miss the midnight screenings as my lttle scam becomes inactive at However, I was determined to give the ticket office one last try today so made my way over to the Lido at 8.00am to be there when they opened in the hope I might just get my hands on one of these free invitation tickets. And what do you know? Finally I was in luck and can report that I have my ticket for Navajo Joe in my sweaty little hand. At last!

As you can tell, I’ve been having the time of my life here but I have to say this whole ticket thing has bugged the hell out of me. The films I have got in to see (through sheer guile and luck) have been fantastic but have played to cinemas which are a quarter full at best. Meanwhile, there are literally thousands of people outside queueing up to buy tickets for anything they can who would gladly enjoying them. It’s a real shame.

But anyhow, I won’t dwell on the negative. I forgot to mention yesterday that there was a terrific exhibition of still photographs from a range of spaghetti westerns in the upper gallery of the Casino cinema complex. Black and white stills by photographers like Franco Vitali, Mario Tursi, G.B Poletto, Enrico Appetito, Angelo Novi and (my favourite) Divo Cavicchioli. Cavicchioli’s shots of Volonte and Kinski from Quien Sabe were exquisite; really capturing their madness in great portraits and his shots of Milian and Orson Welles from Tepepa were also very good. Also of interest (to me anyway) was a shot of Angelo Novi playing the part of a photographer in Boot Hill, a film he did the stills for also. I’ll definitely look out for him next time I watch that movie. All in all it was an excellent exhibition, although not nearly big enough, with a whole lot of shots from films like My Name is Nobody, Giu la Testa, OUATITW, FOD, California, Quanto Costa Morire and loads more. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, there was also a brilliant still of Giuliano Gemma hanging on the underside of a train in I Lunghi Giorni della Vendetta. Pin sharp despite the movement and showing Gemma off to a tee. Great stuff.

Well that’s me for today amigos. I’ll be heading over to the Lido in half an hour or so to see Navajo Joe. I’ve never actually seen that one before so I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll be on line for a wee while so if you are up, give us a yell.

Ciao (see my italian is improving!)