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March 18, 2006

Two in Turin


Torino Violenta/Double Game
Carlo Ausino - 1977
NoShame Films Region 1 DVD


Tony, l'altra faccia della Torino Violenta/Tony:Another Double Game
Carlo Ausino - 1980
NoShame Films Region 1 DVD

Film history includes filmmakers with short filmographies. There are many reasons why these filmmakers may not have many films. Some of these English language directors may be found in the "Miscellany" or possibly "Oddities, One-shots, and Newcomers" of Andrew Sarris' The American Cinema. Film scholars will have their own reasons to see the works of Arch Oboler or Burt Topper. With a filmography with a sporadic output, Carlo Ausino is an obscure name in Italian cinema that may be due for a reassessment. The number of films made is greater than listed at IMDb. The new NoShame release includes two features and three shorts, plus two trailers.

Ausino's main claim to fame is that his films have been shot in his native Turin. The two features are crime dramas taking place in "violent Turin". Ausino wrote, directed and photographed his films. Based on what I've seen, Ausino's narratives border on the incoherent, while his visuals are sometimes inspired. Double Game stars George Hilton as a vengeful cop, a sort of Turin Dirty Harry. Unlike Clint Eastwood, Hilton doesn't distinguish between gangsters and petty crooks, shooting anyone in the name of crime busting. Tony features Ausino pal Emanuel Cannarsa as a sometimes day worker who sees a friend participating in a kidnapping. Tony maintains an uneasy alliance with the police in order to solve the kidnapping. Ausino's second major feature manages to be more assured visually while the story telling elements are even choppier. The DVD of Tony was made from the only surviving print which may account for some of the gaps in the narrative.

Ausino's strengths are in the short film. The Trailer, something of a tribute to Stephen King and John Carpenter's Christine is about a woman trapped in a car with a mind of its own. The film is one of the two shorts Ausino made with muse Kristin George. Their other collaboration, A Modern Fairy Tale is Ausino version of his discovery of George, and how she suddenly went from a supporting role to star while a film, Sahara Killing was in mid-production. The DVD includes the trailer for Sahara Killing, although the actual feature remains uncompleted. The third short, Christmas Tale is an excercise in visual story telling concerning a suicidal young woman and her encounter with an older street person. Because of the quality of his short films, I feel that Ausino's works need to be seen in full for a fair judgement.

Posted by peter at March 18, 2006 10:26 PM