The more I see movies the more I know actors and discover new talents. One of my latest interests goes to an Italian actor who started to appear in several interesting movies from the 60s and 80s called Franco Nero. His most recent movie is James Gray’s The Lost City of Z, but his body of work includes working with famous directors such as Luis Buñuel, Rainer Fassbinder, Elio Petri and many others. Since I haven’t been talking about old movies recently, I’ve decided to name some Franco Nero movies and why you should watch them.
06. Django (1966) by Sergio Corbucci
If Django is a familiar name for you that happens because Quentin Tarantino made a film inspired by this classic called Django Unchained. The Django franchise has a way deeper reputation, though. Being known as the most violent movie ever made until 1966, Sergio Corbucci’s classic became a cult sensation, having several sequels throughout the years and officially launching Franco Nero’s career. Differently from Tarantino’s version, Django here is an union-soldier drifter who walks around caring a coffin. What is inside of the coffin, however, is a huge machine where he uses to fight the KKK, Mexican revolutionaries and several other conflicts in this western spaghetti classic.
05. Tristana (1970) by Luis Buñuel
Franco Nero stars as the lover of Catherine Deneuve in this Luis Buñuel Academy Award Best Foreign Picture nominee, where Catherine plays Tristana, a young adult who is forced to have sexual relationships with his father after the death of her mother. Just like many movies from Nero’s career, Tristana faced hard censorship upon its release due to its incest and sexual connotations. However, it’s still an important film for both Franco Nero and Luis Buñuel.
04. The Third Eye (1966) by Mino Guerrini
Being sort of B movie, The Third Eye is a gruesome tale of psychosis that tells the story of a taxidermist, played by Nero, who enters a psychotic state after his wife and mother passed away. Little does he know that the guilt for their deaths lies on the maid Martha, who wishes to become her bride. When Nero’s character starts to hire prostitutes and kill them, the maid makes a path with him to not tell the police as long as they get married. Things start to get trickier once the sister of his ex-wife appears in search for explanations, resulting in an exciting thriller full of twists.
03. Querelle (1982) by Reiner Werner Fassbinder
Probably one of the most sexual movies of all times, Querelle is one of Fassbinder’s masterpieces. Even though I’m not a big fan of the director, Querelle is known for its amazing set designs and homosexual content in a time where the LGBT community was connected to the aids epidemic. Franco Nero stars as the captain of a boat who is in love with one of the crew’s men, Querelle, a drug dealer and a murderer who also happens to enjoy having sex with men. The story may not be clear in some parts, but Querelle is a beautiful and striking film about desire and oppression in an avant-garde style that is simply hypnotizing to watch.
02. Sardina Kidnapped (1968) by Gianfranco Mingozzi
Besides having an amazing plot, Franco Nero and Charlotte Rampling make such a hypnotic couple that is hard to take the eyes off of the screen. The film tells the story of a man who is kidnapped which is part of a scheme plan to make rich families donate their business and houses to monopolize the local industry. With that, no one is saved and Nero and Rampling’s character starts being a part of something way bigger than they think it is, resulting in an interesting, complex and smart Italian thriller.
01. A Quiet Place in the Country (1968) by Elio Petri.
Being one of the most interesting films I’ve seen this year, A Quiet Place in the Country is a surreal giallo-like tale about a painter who decides to rent an old mansion in order to work. There, he starts to dream about the ghost of a woman who was killed in the house while his reality starts to fade away as he becomes interested in the woman. With an outstanding direction by Elio Petri, A Quiet Place in the Country makes you lose yourself in Petri’s mise en scene and Franco Nero’s mind to discover what is real and what is not, resulting in probably his best film and performance so far.