An army officer can barely put up with his crippled wife: he just can’t stand the noise of the orthopedic shoes she has to wear. The man falls in love with the maid who walks around the house barefoot, and she reciprocates his feelings. For the two of them to live happily ever after, though, they need to get the wife out of the picture, and poison is the quickest way to eliminate her. But, when the plan is about to come to fruition, something unexpected happens. Il passo is one of the episodes of the series Amori pericolosi along with Carlo Lizzani’s La ronda, and Alfredo Giannetti’s Il generale. The trilogy was presented at the Venice Film Festival in 1964.
Giulio Questi (Bergamo, 1924), after his experience as a partisan, began to write short stories for various literary journals (including Vittorini’s “Il Politecnico); in the mid-1950s, he began working in cinema, as a documentary filmmaker (Giocare, 1957), an assistant director for Zurlini and Rosi, and an actor for Fellini in La dolce vita (1960). In 1961, he shot his first fiction film, Viaggio di nozze, an episode of Latin Lovers, and the next year he collaborated on the “mondo film” (a movie made with archival material that is deliberately shocking and offensive) Universo di notte. In 1963, he directed an episode of another collective move, Nudi per vivere, which he made with Elio Petri and Giuliano Montaldo under the pseudonym Elio Montesti; the movie was seized by the censors and was never distributed. In 1964, he directed Il passo, an episode for the film Amori pericolosi, and finally, in 1967, his first feature film: the western Django, Kill (If You Live, Shoot!), which was also seized because of explicit violence and was extensively re-edited (in 1975 it was re-released with the title Oro Hondo, in a longer but still incomplete version). In 1968, he directed A Curious Way to Love, an unsuccessful murder mystery starring Gina Lollobrigida and Jean-Louis Trintignant, and in 1972, Arcana, a surrealistic masterpiece which once again had distribution problems. He left cinema and in the 1970s and 1980s worked in television, directing works that include L’uomo della sabbia (1975), Vampirismus (1982) and Il segno del comando (1989), a remake of the tv film of the same title from 1971. Between 2003 and 2007, completely on his own, he made a series of seven experimental shorts (which were brought together in 2008 in the collection By Giulio Questi) in which he was the sole protagonist, as well as the director, screenwriter and editor. 2014 marked his debut as an author, when Einaudi published his collection of short stories Uomini e comandanti, for which he recently won the Piero Chiara literary award.
Le italiane e l’amore (ep. La prima notte, coregia Marco Ferreri, Gian Vittorio Baldi, cm, 1961), Universo di notte (non accr./uncred., doc., 1962), Nudi per vivere (coregia Elio Petri, Giuliano Montaldo [Elio Montesti], 1963), Amori pericolosi (ep. Il passo, coregia Carlo Lizzani, Alfredo Giannetti, mm, 1964), Se sei vivo spara (conosciuto anche come/also known as Oro Hondo o/or Django Kill, 1967), La morte ha fatto l’uovo (1968), Arcana (1972), L’uomo della sabbia (tv, 1975), Vampirismus (tv, 1982), Quando arriva il giudice (tv, 1985), Il segno del comando (tv, 1989), Non aprire all’uomo nero (tv, 1994), Il commissario Sarti (tv, 1994), By Giulio Questi (serie di cortometraggi/short films series: Doctor schizo e Mister Phrenic, Lettera da Salamanca, Tatatatango, Mysterium Noctis, Vacanze con alice, Repressione in città, Vacanze con Alice, Visitors).
“Everything in this movie is soft and very abstract. For instance, the mawkish moves of Mayniel, that head tilted backward… I was looking for a surrealist take on the story. When I wrote the screenplay, I was imagining something ‘rarefied’, very calligraphic, very cruel…”
Juliette Mayniel, Frank Wolff, Graziella Granata, Piero Morgia
Zebra Film, Fulco Film, Aera Film