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“Unforgiven,” 25th Anniversary Presentation, at Film Forum August 4-10

Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood in Eastwood’s UNFORGIVEN (19

Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood in “Unforgiven.”

August 3, 2017.  Director and actor Clint Eastwood’s 1992 quadruple Oscar winning movie (including Best Director and Best Picture), “Unforgiven,” will have a run at Film Forum, in a stunning 4K restoration, from August 4 – 10.  “Unforgiven is a dark, violent western that explodes the mythology and violent glamour of the old west. It is a story which movies in directions that are unpredictable and which defy expectations of the western genre.

“Unforgiven” is a fascinating meditation on the nature of violence, specifically the ideal of a “shoot ‘em up” versus the reality of actually killing someone.  The difference between the “good guys” and “bad guys” in this film all depends on whose side you’re on.  In this regard, “Unforgiven” is reminiscent of the Italian westerns, called “Spaghetti Westerns,” in which protagonists were not necessarily the “good guys,” a genre in which Eastwood made his bones as an actor. This influence is particularly felt in the film’s final credit, “For Sergio and Don” – Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.  Leone directed Eastwood in his Italian westerns – “A Fist Full of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965) and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966).  Siegel directed some of Eastwood’s movies state side, including the iconic “Dirty Harry” (1971), in which Eastwood plays a police inspector who lives by his own code. Read the rest of this entry

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“The Price of Power” – Part of “Spaghetti Westerns,” at Film Forum

On June 7, Film Forum’s current series, “Spaghetti Westerns,” presented a screening of director Tonino Valerii’s The Price of Power (1969), an intelligent, complicated western about a presidential assassination.  The movie was introduced by director Alex Cox (Repo Man – 2010, Sid and Nancy – 1986).  In addition to being a director in his own right, Cox is also a Spaghetti Western enthusiast and author of the book “10,000 Ways to Die: A Director’s Take on the Spaghetti Western.”  His energy and enthusiasm for Spaghetti Westerns was quite evident.

Spaghetti Westerns seem to take place in alternate realities.  They are set in the American West.  The actors dress like characters in a western.  They ride horses and carry guns.  There are references to the Civil War.  However, everyone is speaking Italian.  In the case of The Price of Power there are at least three other alternate realities that can be added. Read the rest of this entry

“Spaghetti Westerns” at Film Forum, June 1 – 21, 2012

Tomas Milian (left) and Lee Van Cleef in director Sergio Sollima’s “The Big Gun Down,” part of “Spaghetti Westerns” at Film Forum

From June 1 – 21 Film Forum will present  “Spaghetti Westerns,” a 26 movie festival about this important, and often neglected, film genre.  This series is the most ambitious of its kind ever presented in the United States.  Due to the extreme rarity of prints and complex issues involving rights, not to mention expense, a series of this nature has been virtually impossible to mount, until now.  “Spaghetti Westerns” will include rare 35mm prints obtained from the Cineteca Italiana in Rome, as well as other national archives, private collections and Hollywood studio archives.

The Italian filmmakers who made spaghetti westerns actually prefer the term “Italian Western,” or “Western all Italiana,” to “Spaghetti Western.”  They feel that the term “spaghetti” implies that they were copying an American genre, the western, when in fact they were re-inventing it. Read the rest of this entry