Spider’s Stratagem, The

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

Italy| 1970. English subtitles. Colour. 97 min.

Showing Bertolucci at the height of his powers, The Spider’s Stratagem transposes a Jorge Luis Borges story to the Po Valley in Italy, introduces a dazzling density of cultural references, and remains thrilling and extraordinary. Athos Magnani (Giulio Brogi) returns to his home town, where the defacement of the memorial to his father (a hero of ’36) sets him on the trail of the truth about his parent. The world he explores is full of mysteries, omens, ambiguities and signs of incipient madness, and it resolves itself into a riddle that is the cinema’s richest homage to all that’s remarkable in Borges.

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