director Marco Ferreri
Dillinger is Dead, the 1969 film by Marco Fereri, is a very unusual movie. It’ s avant-garde in perhaps a quite pure form of the phrase. The Criterion Collection description of the film seems to hit the nail on the head better than any other turn of phrase that I can think of: “magnificently inscrutable”.
The upshot of the film is that any concise description really can only fail to give a sense of the film. And I’ll be frank, I can’t say as I really know how to respond to the film or exactly how I feel about it. Inscrutable indeed.
Rather than even trying, I’ll just quote the Criterion description in full:
In this magnificently inscrutable late-sixties masterpiece, Marco Ferreri, one of European cinema’s most idiosyncratic auteurs, takes us through the looking glass to one seemingly routine night in the life of an Italian gas mask designer, played, in a tour de force performance, by New Wave icon Michel Piccoli. In his claustrophobic mod home, he pampers his pill-popping wife, seduces his maid, and uncovers a gun that may have once been owned by John Dillinger—and then things get even stranger. A surreal political missive about social malaise, Dillinger Is Dead (Dillinger è morto) finds absurdity in the mundane. It is a singular experience, both illogical and grandly existential.
I’m still processing.