Dillinger Is Dead (The Criterion Collection)


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Dillinger Is Dead (Italian: Dillinger è morto) is a 1969 Italian drama directed by Marco Ferreri. It stars Michel Piccoli, Anita Pallenberg and Annie Girardot. The story is a darkly satiric blend of fantasy and reality. It follows a bored, alienated man over the course of one night in his home. The title comes from a newspaper headline featured in the film which proclaims the death of the real life American gangster John Dillinger.

The film proved controversial on its initial release for its subject matter and violence but is now generally regarded as Ferreri’s masterpiece. It was acclaimed by the influential French film magazine Cahiers du cinéma and afterwards Ferreri worked and lived in Paris for many years. Since the mid-1980s the film has been screened only very rarely.
Plot
Glauco, a middle-aged industrial designer of gas masks, is growing tired of his occupation. Having discussed alienation with a colleague at the factory, he returns home. His wife is in bed with a headache but has left him dinner, which has become cold. He is dissatisfied with the food and begins preparing himself a gourmet meal. While collecting ingredients he discovers an old revolver wrapped in a 1934 newspaper with the headline “Dillinger is dead” and an account of the famous American gangster’s death. Glauco cleans and restores the gun while continuing to cook his dinner, then paints it red with white polka dots. He also eats his meal, watches some television and projected home movies, listens to music and seduces their maid. With the gun he enacts suicide a number of times. At dawn he shoots his wife thrice in the head as she sleeps. Then he drives to the seaside where he gets a job as a chef on a yacht bound for Tahiti.

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