Every Friday, Fandor’s curators serve up a newly available film worthy of special attention. This week’s Featured Release is A Bullet for the General directed by Damiano Damiani.
“When the bullet turns red, the general will be dead!”
What makes a Spaghetti Western a good Spaghetti Western? Depends on who you ask, but it’s safe to say that any entry in the genre worth its weight in Barilla finds a proper balance between high-stakes dustups and a deeper story of good vs. evil that resonates with the audience. In other words, it has to have enough old-west-style action to keep you on your toes but also offer the emotional weight to keep you invested (and pulling for the good guy to win). Throw in allegorical overtones, flourishes of American West mythology and production design that evokes an authentic atmosphere and you have all the makings of a superb film. Well, at least you have all the most important bases covered.
Going by these standards, A Bullet for the General, our featured release this week, is not just a good Spaghetti Western but a great one. The Mexican revolution provides the backdrop and gravitas to this politically charged tale, which starts off with a brutal execution and just keeps barreling forward. A prime example of the “Zapata Western” subgenre that channeled anti-oppression sentiments, A Bullet for the General features many familiar faces, from Gian Maria Volonté (A Fistful of Dollars) to Klaus Kinski (seen here as a zealous revolutionary). Props should also be given to Antonio Secchi for his stunning photography work and composer Luis Bacalov (Django, Il Postino). All this talent coupled with an engrossing story makes General a must-see Spaghetti Western for any fan of the genre. See for yourself: click here to watch the trailer.
To coincide with our release of A Bullet for the General, Keyframe has excerpted an essay on the film by filmmaker (and unabashed Spaghetti Western aficionado) Alex Cox. The piece originally appeared in 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director’s Take on the Spaghetti Western:
The Wilder Bunch (February 28, 2014)