Imogen Sara Smith
Among Mario Monicelli’s greatest gifts as a director was the expressiveness, specificity, and stubborn physicality of the worlds he creates. This textured, tactile realism is potent in The Organizer (1963), his epic tragicomedy about the nascent labor movement in late 19th-century Turin.
Almost cloyingly luscious, the cinematography feels perversely complicit in Ellen’s monstrous crimes. It not only makes her inhumanly beautiful, but endorses her inhumane perfectionism by surrounding her with beauty that is unsettlingly perfect.
“A singular being in a plural world” is how Jean Cocteau described the French director Jean Grémillon. His films are sensitive to the tensions between individuals and communities, between the cyclical patterns of daily life and the private obsessions or conflicts that break these rhythms.