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The Spider's Stratagem (1970)

Strategia del ragno (original title)
Athos Magnani, a young researcher, returns to Tara, where his father was killed before his birth, at the request of Draifa. The father, also named Athos Magnani and looking exactly like the... See full summary »

Writers:

(story "Tema del traidor y del héroe") (as J.L. Borges), | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
Pippo Campanini ...
Gaibazzi
Franco Giovanelli ...
Rasori
Tino Scotti ...
Costa
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Allen Midgette ...
Sailor
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Storyline

Athos Magnani, a young researcher, returns to Tara, where his father was killed before his birth, at the request of Draifa. The father, also named Athos Magnani and looking exactly like the son, was killed by a fascist in 1936 -- or so says Draifa (his mistress), the town statue, and everyone in town. As the son untangles the web of lies this story is constructed from, he finds himself ensnared in the same web. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From Bernardo Bertolucci, the creator of "Before the Revolution," "The Conformist" and "Last Tango in Paris"

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 March 1973 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Spider's Stratagem  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The short story "Tema del traidor y del héroe" (Theme of the Traitor and the Hero) by Jorge Luis Borges, that this film is based on, was set in nineteenth-century Ireland and was only 2 pages long. See more »

Quotes

Athos Magnani, father and son: There's phrase that..."A man is made of all men. He is equal to all and all are equal to him". I forgot my suitcase at the station.
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Soundtracks

Rigoletto
Written by Giuseppe Verdi
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User Reviews

 
Continuity That Sleeps

Bertoluci's film is often abundantly gorgeous to look at but while that may be the case, it doesn't keep us interested enough in the protagonist's development or the plight of the film. His early films were often too 'artistic' to be taken seriously and his pretentiousness is quite evident here; he borrowed soundly from Godard and it shows with the excess wearisomeness. The plot concerns a young man named Athos Magnani who visits a small village in Italy where his father was reputedly an "anti-fascist freedom fighter" in 1936, but from the flash backs, he was a pompous jerk who really didn't do much anti-fascist work. In one scene of a dance in the village, Athos' father is smoking his cigarette in defiance of the fascist thugs who are giving him vicious looks. It all seems so silly and mundane, like a challenge that never surfaces. His father was 'supposedly' murdered by the fascists and in the present is considered a hero, with the whole bit of martyrdom being evident in the erected statue that bears a striking resemblance to Athos. So steps his son, in search of what his father was. The town does not want to return to the past, they have heroes today for a reason and they hesitate to unravel anything about that long ago era. Bertolucci manages to bore us while piecing useless confabulations from the people who knew his father including the mistress and three close chums, who are played by the old actors in the flashbacks, and thus Bertolucci plays with the contextual memory of the plot. Athos is a character who seems pained and thus reducing our sympathy of him to distaste and animosity. I wanted to grab him and slap him a few times, he was such a chump! Is Athos his father or did his father ever exist? What we have in the end is an erection of exorbitant delineations that don't really matter at all to us. Bertolucci could have made a wonderful film that rivals some of the great directors of the time but somewhere along the line everything didn't get aggregated like it should have, what we have instead is an egotistical exercise in excess that is only ideal to a half drowsy art student.


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