The Great Silence

Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence, released in 1968, is a Western film that is both captivating and unforgettable. Set in the late 19th century in “Snow Hill, Utah,” the film depicts a place where farmers have been forced into banditry, leaving them at the mercy of sadistic bounty killers, such as Klaus Kinski’s Tigrero, who embodies the brutal Darwinian world that governs Snow Hill. However, a solitary avenger known as Silenzio, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, stands up to Tigrero and his minions.

Silenzio is a tragic and poetic character, a variation on Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name. Silenzio is not a man of few words, but a survivor of horrific violence. When he was a child, the bounty hunters who murdered his parents severed his vocal cords to keep him from talking. He has grown up into Tigrero’s double and opposite, meting out justice for money and following a strict code of ethics. He will never draw his gun first, but he will always shoot faster than his adversary.

The film’s political ideology is also a prominent theme, as Silenzio’s services are solicited by Pauline, the widow of one of Tigrero’s victims. The fact that she and her husband are black is both a casual detail and a sign of the film’s anti-authoritarian, democratic ideology. The couple seems to have been welcomed by the other good people of Snow Hill, but their race is a big issue for the bad guys.

One of the film’s most striking aspects is its brazen mixing of incompatible elements. The Great Silence is anarchic and rigorous, sophisticated and goofy, heartfelt and cynical. The score, composed by Ennio Morricone, is as mellow as wine, but the action is raw, nasty, and blood-soaked. The story is preposterous, but the politics are sincere.

Sergio Corbucci’s “The Great Silence” is a powerful allegory that draws inspiration from the deaths of two prominent figures of the 60s, Che Guevara and Malcolm X. The film’s plot takes place in Utah prior to the Great Blizzard of 1899, subverting various conventions of the Western genre.

Corbucci chooses a snow-bound Utah as the setting, in contrast to the desert plains that are typically seen in Western films, American or Italian. This creates a unique atmosphere that heightens the sense of danger and isolation felt by the characters. Jean-Louis Trintignant’s portrayal of the protagonist, Silenzio, who is completely mute, adds a sense of vulnerability and sensitivity to the character that is rare in the Western genre.

The film’s subversion of the Western genre reaches its peak with the deaths of Silenzio, Pauline, and the outlaws at the hands of Klaus Kinski’s character, Loco, and his gang. This is in stark contrast to the deaths of characters in other films of the era such as Ben in “Night of the Living Dead” and Wyatt and Billy in “Easy Rider,” where the characters are also killed. Corbucci’s subversion and commentary on the genre culminates in the final shootout, which is not a face-to-face gunfight at the O.K. Corral, but an ambush committed by Kinski’s character.

The virtual possibilities of the 60s represented a new frontier, an unexplored world of imagination and creativity. It was a time when the boundaries of what was possible were being pushed, and people were dreaming up new ways to connect, create, and communicate.

As the virtual possibilities of the 60s were being explored, the cynicism of the post-WWII era and the noir genre seeped into the cultural consciousness, leading to a new type of creative expression. The optimism and idealism of the 60s collided with the disillusionment and skepticism of the previous decade, resulting in a fusion of styles that was both exciting and contradictory.

In literature and film, this fusion was evident in the emergence of the new wave of noir, which was characterized by a more fragmented narrative structure, ambiguous moral landscapes, and a heightened sense of existential angst. The virtual possibilities of the 60s, on the other hand, were marked by a utopian spirit that sought to transcend the limitations of reality through technological innovation.

This juxtaposition of styles explored themes of identity, reality, and technology in a world that was both dystopian and utopian. Corbucci’s’s work captured the contradictions of the era, reflecting the optimism and disillusionment that coexisted within the collective consciousness.

The 60s can certainly be seen as a kind of collective unconscious dark matter. The decade was marked by a profound cultural shift that had far-reaching implications for society as a whole. It was a time of great upheaval, with widespread social and political movements challenging traditional modes of thinking and behavior.

At the heart of this shift was a growing sense of disillusionment with the status quo. People were no longer content with the established norms and values of their society and sought to break free from the constraints that had held them back for so long. But this shift was not just about rebellion and revolution. It was also about a new way of thinking about the world and our place in it. The virtual possibilities of the 60s, such as space exploration, computer technology, and new forms of media, represented a new frontier that promised to expand our understanding of the universe and our place within it.

In conclusion, the virtual possibilities of the 60s were marked by both optimism and cynicism, reflecting the contradictions of the post-WWII era and the emergence of the new wave of noir. This fusion of styles produced a new form of creative expression that challenged traditional modes of storytelling and opened up new possibilities for exploring the human condition.

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