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Spider's Stratagem, The

Director:  Bernardo Bertolucci
Year Released:  1970
Rating:  3.0

Athos Magnani (Giulio Brogi) returns to his hometown of "Tara" to look into his father's mysterious murder (Pop had the same exact name) by fascists - he spends a lot of time talking to Dad's prickly mistress Draifa (Alida Valli) and three of Dad's old 'friends'/anti-fascists (one of them is a salami expert ... which sounds like a dream career). Bertolucci (wisely) adapted this from a Jorge Luis Borges story and does the Argentine proud: this is a haunting tale about what happens when one looks into the past of a parent and finds something questionable or shameful ... and also about how great political movements need 'figures' to 'worship,' even going so far as twisting truth to make a traitor a hero for the sake of the 'narrative.' Brogi's 'character' is basically a cipher for the great Vittorio Storaro to fix his camera on; the picture's true worth comes from Borges' and Bertolucci's minds.

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