The Radical Lawlessness of The Spaghetti Western

As an introduction to the retrospective season, Beyond Leone: The Radical Lawlessness of the Spaghetti Western, the Melbourne Cinémathèque and the Italian Institute of Culture present an audiovisual lecture by Rolando Caputo.

The lecture will serve as a precursor to the season of six films programmed at the Cinémathèque, beginning on 22 August. Although westerns had been made in Europe prior to Sergio Leone's epochal A Fistful of Dollars (1964), the astonishing wave of films produced in its wake constitute what is affectionately known as the spaghetti western.

Cheap but rarely cheerful, from 1964 a plethora of brutal, iconoclastic and stylistically freewheeling gun operas came out of an opportunistic pan-European studio system at a torrential rate. At a time when the Hollywood western was in bloated decline, the Italian-Spanish version ripped up all moral niceties, presenting extreme violence and radical politics via revenge narratives set against local desert backdrops.

This talk by Rolando Caputo will take an informed look at the genre and its stylistic flourishes, contextualising the period within Italian cinema history and the broader concept of the western film.

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