Film Season - States of Danger and Deceit

HOME in Manchester has curated a nationwide season of European thrillers from the 1970s with film screenings, talks and special guests in States of Danger and Deceit: European Political Thrillers in the 1970s...

In the winter of 2017 HOME presents a season of nail-biting thrillers that expose the political tensions that reverberated across Europe in the 1970s. A decade when the social turmoil that marked the late 1960s gave way to a more strident politics that involved stark and sometimes violent contrasts between left and right. A decade that was scarred by the emergence of uncompromisingly radical groups such as the Red Army Faction and the Red Brigades. In response to this charged moment, a number of filmmakers across Europe turned to the format of the thriller. Stylish and enduringly popular with audiences, they saw it as the perfect vehicle through which to explore conspiracies, authoritarian regimes, and political violence.

Beginning with Costa-Gavras’ legendary Z (1969), States of Danger and Deceit: European Political Thrillers in the 1970s offers audiences the chance to discover or revisit some of the decade’s key works including: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (1975) and The Day of the Jackal (1973). Films that still influence the way in which politically engaged filmmakers approach their work and engage with popular forms and genres. In an event exclusive to HOME, actor Angela Winkler will give an on-stage Q&A following The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum.

The programme has been curated by Andy Willis, Professor of Film Studies at the University of Salford and Senior Visiting Curator: Film at HOME, produced by Rachel Hayward, HOME’s Film Programme Manager, and coordinated by Jessie Gibbs, HOME Film Team. States of Danger and Deceit: European Political Thrillers in the 1970s is programmed by HOME as part of BFI Thriller season Who Can You Trust?

Senior Visiting Curator: Film at HOME, Andy Willis, says: “I am thrilled to be working with HOME on this major film season. Young people in the UK today, as they were in the 1970s, are becoming increasingly interested in political issues. The films in this season - designed for the most part with audiences in mind - reveal how popular film styles can be used to discuss a range of burning political issues of their, and indeed our own, time. Across the season we have films that engage with questions of prejudice, marginalisation and inequality, with issues around class and gender, as well as films that ask how best to change society and who can we can trust to do so for the better. “

The season opens at HOME as part of the BFI’s major nationwide season of thrillers – Who Can You Trust?, and travels to select cinemas around the UK, made possible by the BFI Audience Fund with National Lottery funding.

States of Danger and Deceit: European Political Thrillers in the 1970s runs at HOME: 4 Nov to 12 Dec 2017, Nationwide Tour: 2 Nov 2017 to 31 Jan 2018.

Films to be shown as part of the States of Danger and Deceit season:

Z (15)
Sat 4 Nov, 20:20
Dir Costa-Gavras/FR 1969/127 mins/French with wEngST
Yves Montand, Irene Papas, Jean-Louis Trintignant 
Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1970, after also having been nominated for Best Picture, Z remains one of the most influential political thrillers of all time. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays a magistrate assigned to investigate the supposed accidental death of a left-wing politician, memorably played by Yves Montand. In the course of his work he uncovers a series of deceits and lies that attempt to hide the real political motivation of the killing.

The Mattei Affair (U) (Il caso Mattei)
Sun 5 Nov, 18:15
Dir Francesco Rosi/IT 1972/116 mins/Italian wEng ST
Gian Maria Volontè, Luigi Squarzina, Peter Baldwin
A key title in the development of Francesco Rosi’s style of investigative thriller, The Mattei Affair focuses on the death of Enrico Mattei, an influential businessman who made enemies in the mafia. His story is interspersed with Rosi’s investigation into the disappearance of his friend, journalist Mauro De Mauro, who was undertaking research for the film. Again driven by a thoughtful performance from Gian Maria Volontè, The Mattei Affair is one of Rosi’s finest works.

One Hour Intro/ Political Thrillers in the 1970s: From Z to Circle of Deceit
Wed 8 Nov, 18:15
Politically the 1970s was a turbulent decade and many filmmakers, writers and actors felt driven to explore some of its most pressing issues on screen. One of the results was a memorable cycle of politically motivated thrillers that attempted to bring the charged atmosphere of the streets onto cinema screens across Europe. Through an exploration of some of the key works and practitioners present in States of Danger and Deceit this One Hour Intro will help contextualise the season.
Led by Andy Willis, curator of States of Danger and Deceit: European political thrillers in the 1970s. 

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (18) (Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto)
Wed 8 Nov, 19:30
Dir Elio Petri/IT 1970/115 mins/Italian wEng ST
Gian Maria Volontè, Florinda Bolkan, Gianni Santuccio
In Elio Petri’s visually stunning and beautifully composed film, a corrupt police official decides to show how untouchable he is by creating a murder scene where the evidence can only lead investigators to him. Starring the iconic left-wing actor Gian Maria Volontè who provides a mesmerising performance, this is a sly and slick condemnation of the state and the police from one of Italy’s major political filmmakers of the 1960s and 1970s.

The Long Good Friday (18)
Thu 9 Nov, 18:15
Dir John Mackenzie/GB 1980/115 mins
Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Paul Freeman
In this landmark British thriller, gangster Harold Shand, memorably played with great relish by Bob Hoskins, dreams of developing London’s rundown dockland and becoming a legitimate businessman. He also wants a partnership with the American Mafia. However, his plans are put in jeopardy when a number of his associates are attacked. Increasingly paranoid, Harold sets out to discover who is behind them and slowly realises the answer is much more political than he ever imagined.

The Day of the Jackal (15)
Sat 11 Nov, 15:30 (Relaxed Screening) 
Sun 12 Nov, 1515
Dir Fred Zinnemann/GB FR 1973/143 mins
Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michel Auclair
A UK-France co-production, Fred Zinnemann’s legendary film explores the attempts of a rightwing paramilitary group to assassinate French President General De Gaulle following the independence of Algeria. Boasting a career-defining performance from Edward Fox and replete with many political twists and turns, The Day of the Jackal is one of the best thrillers of the 1970s.

Don’t Torture a Duckling (18) (Non si sevizia un paperino)
Sat 18 Nov, 20:40
Dir Lucio Fulci/IT 1972/102 mins/Italian wEng ST
Florinda Bolkan, Barbara Bouchet, Tomas Milian
A great example of the ways in which a popular form, here the giallo style of violent thriller, can be used to critique society’s institutions. Set in rural Italy, Lucio Fulci’s film focuses on a series of brutal murders where the killer seems to target young boys on the verge of adulthood. As the media flocks to the village where the victims lived, suspicion falls on those residents who due to their lifestyles are considered outsiders. Rumour has it that Fulci was subsequently blacklisted due to his critical representation of Italy’s powerful social institutions.

State of Siege (15) (État de siège)
Sun 19 Nov, 13:00 followed by an informal post-screening discussion led by Maggie Hoffgen, Freelance Film Educator.
Tue 21 Nov, 20:30
Dir Costa-Gavras/FR IT 1972/120 mins/French wEng ST
Yves Montand, Renato Salvatori, O. E. Hasse
Written by Franco Solinas (The Battle of Algiers), State of Siege is perhaps the greatest political thriller of the 1970s. Costa-Gavras once again calls on Yves Montand to lead this story of an American, supposedly only working as an agricultural advisor regarding international development, who is kidnapped by guerrillas in Uruguay. The taut story is told against the backdrop of repressive politics, death squads and American involvement in Latin America.

Days of ’36 (12) (Meres tou ’36)
Mon 20 Nov, 20:30
Dir Theodoros Angelopoulos/GR 1972/104 mins/Greek wEng ST
Vangelis Kazan, Kostas Pavlou, Thanos Grammenos
During the 1970s Angelopoulos made films that were formally challenging and highly stylised. On occasion these used the narrative conventions of the political thriller to a very different effect to slick films that make up the majority of this season. In Days of ’36 an imprisoned murderer takes a government official hostage in prison sparking a political crisis. Full of Angelopoulos’ trademark symmetrical compositions, this reads like a thriller but through the director’s use of film form resists the normal pleasures of the genre.

Special Section (PG) (Section spéciale)
Wed 22 Nov, 18:15
Dir Costa-Gavras/FR IT West Germany 1975/118 mins/ French with Eng ST
Louis Seigner, Roland Bertin, Michael Lonsdale
With Special Section director Costa-Gavras turned his attention to events in France during World War II. When a German officer is killed the Nazi occupying forces demand a quick response threatening to kill 100 civilians. To appease them a special court is created, presided over by a group of ambitious and subservient judges, with the aim of convicting a group of six men coldly used as scapegoats. Another of his engaging political films, Costa-Gavras was awarded Best Director at the 1975 Cannes film festival for Special Section.

Killer Cop (CTBA) (La Polizia Ha Le Mani Legate)
Thu 23 Nov, 18.20
Dir Luciano Ercoli/IT 1975/97 mins/Italian wEng ST
Claudio Cassinelli, Arthur Kennedy, Franco Fabrizi
In this Milan-set low budget gem, director Luciano Ercoli creates a political thriller full of 1970s Italian style. After a terrorist bomb explodes in a busy hotel the official investigation gets caught up in politics and bureaucracy. As the bombers go on the run, the only hope of catching them lies with Cassnellli’s determined narcotics cop, who accidently got caught in the mayhem. This highly effective Poliziotteschi shows how the radical politics of the decade bled into genre filmmaking in Italy.

Debate: The Space and Place of Women in the Political Thriller
Sun 26 Nov, 14:00
This discussion will focus on the place made available for women in the political thrillers of the 1970s. Given the strong presence of women in a number of radical organisations of the decade was similar space made available for their representation on screen? Reference will be made to a number of films screened during States of Danger and Deceit but will also make reference to other works of the period. See website for details of speakers.

The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (15) + Q&A with Angela Winkler (Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum)
Sun 26 Nov, 15:30
Dirs Volker Schlöndorff, Margarethe von Trotta/West Germany 1975/106 mins/German wEng ST
Angela Winkler, Mario Adorf, Dieter Laser
A key political film of the New German Cinema, Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta co-directed and adapted The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum from the controversial novel by Heinrich Böll. Set in a climate of fear and paranoia, Angela Winkler plays the young woman of the title whose life is slowly destroyed by the media following her meeting a young man who is suspected by the authorities of being a political activist.

Illustrious Corpses (PG) (Cadaveri eccellenti)
Tue 28 Nov, 18:15
Dir Francesco Rosi/IT FR 1976/120 mins/Italian wEng ST
Lino Ventura, Tino Carraro, Marcel Bozzuffi
In an Italy rife with mistrust and paranoia judges are being murdered. Lino Ventura’s quietly effective detective is appointed to investigate who is responsible and soon begins to unearth an array of corruption and duplicity within the corridors of power. Highly atmospheric, this is perhaps the archetypal political film of the 1970s and displays to great effect Rosi’s brilliant visual style. Screening from a 35mm print

One Hour Intro/ Beck and the roots of Nordic Noir
Wed 29 Nov, 18:15 
Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö's ten crime novels from the 1960s and ‘70s featuring Inspector Martin Beck have had a major impact on Swedish – and international – film and TV. Their importance lies partly in their critical commentary on Swedish society, which in turn inspired Henning Mankell and other more recent crime narratives from Nordic countries. This introductory talk will explore the Beck legacy and the distinctiveness of ‘Nordic Noir’ films and TV series. Led by Roy Stafford, Freelance Film Educator

Man on the Roof (15) (Mannen på taket) introduced by Roy Stafford, Freelance Film Educator
Wed 29 Nov, 19:45
Dir Bo Widerberg/SE 1976/110 mins/Swedish wEng ST
Carl-Gustaf Lindstedt, Sven Wollter, Thomas Hellberg
Adapted from the Martin Beck novel The Abominable Man by legendary left-leaning Swedish crime writers Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. Man on the Roof is a great example of a 1970s Nordic Noir film. Here Beck, played by Carl-Gustaf Lindstedt, and his team investigate a brutal murder in a hospital, encountering stories of police brutality as they progress, which in turn leads to a thrilling climax on the rooftops of Stockholm. A great opportunity to see the roots of the current wave of Scandinavian crime dramas.

The Flight (CTBA) (Die Flucht)
Sun 3 Dec, 16:00
Dir Roland Graf/East Germany 1977/94 mins/German wEng ST
Armin Mueller-Stahl, Jenny Gröllmann, Erika Pelikowsky
One of the final films made in East Germany featuring the great actor Armin Mueller-Stahl – he would later memorably link up with Costa-Gavras in the US for Music Box (1989). In The Flight he plays a doctor who when he dutifully follows procedure and applies to travel outside the GDR to attend a conference is refused permission. Dismayed by the state bureaucracy, he becomes involved with an underground network who promise they can get him out of the country. Given it was made in the East all does not go to plan.

Event/ The Flight will be introduced by artist Declan Clarke and will be followed by a postscreening discussion with Clarke and season curator Andy Willis
Declan Clarke has presented solo exhibitions at Tromsø Kunstforening, Norway and The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin. He also co-curated Cornerhouse exhibition Anguish and Enthusiasm: What Do You Do With Your Revolution Once You’ve Got it? (2013), and his film The Most Cruel of all Goddesses was presented at HOME’s opening exhibition, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things (2015).

Event/ The legacy of the 1970s political thriller
Tue 5 Dec, 18:30
To discuss the politics of utilising the format of the thriller and the legacy of the work contained in States of Danger and Deceit, curator Andy Willis will be joined by Berlin based artist Declan Clarke, whose film-based work is greatly informed by both the politics of the 1970s and the aesthetic forms adopted within the films in the season.

Twilight's Last Gleaming (15)
Tue 5 Dec, 20:00
Dir Robert Aldrich/West Germany US 1977/144 mins
Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Roscoe Lee Browne
A West German-US co-production shot mainly at the Bavaria film studios, this neglected work is one of Robert Aldrich’s best films. It is driven by a wonderful performance from Burt Lancaster who plays a renegade US general disillusioned by his country’s involvement in Vietnam and aware of a top secret document that acknowledged the war could not be won. To try and make the powers that be reveal the document to the public he hijacks a nuclear silo and threatens to launch a series of bombs. Utilising split screens to great effect, this is a taut political thriller of the highest order.

One Hour Intro/ Bruno Ganz: Screen Chameleon
Sat 9 Dec, 17:00 
This One Hour Intro will focus on the work of the Swiss-German actor who, at the age of 75, can look back on a long and varied career both in theatre and cinema. He has not shied away from difficult and controversial work, which makes him very interesting to explore. The talk will be accompanied by film clips illustrating the versatility of this charismatic actor. Led by Maggie Hoffgen, Freelance Film Educator.

Knife in the Head (15) (Messer im Kopf)
Sat 9 Dec, 18:20
Dir Reinhard Hauff/West Germany 1978/108 mins/German wEng ST
Bruno Ganz, Angela Winkler, Hans Christian Blech
Shot in the head whilst seemingly innocently visiting his wife at a youth centre and left paralysed, Hoffman (Bruno Ganz) finds himself caught in-between the police and terrorists as he tries to piece together his memories of the event rather than accepting the various versions told by others who wish to exploit his injury for their own ends. Driven by a superlative performance by Ganz, Hauff’s film reflects the paranoia and political tension within West Germany as the 1970s drew to a close. Screening from a 16mm print.

Circle of Deceit (18) (Die Fälschung) followed by an informal post-screening discussion. 
Sun 10 Dec, 16:00
Dir Volker Schlöndorff/West Germany FR 1981/108 mins/German and French wEng ST
Bruno Ganz, Hanna Schygulla, Jean Carmet
In Circle of Deceit Schlöndorff deftly mixes the personal and the political to great effect in a film that stars two of the biggest names of the New German Cinema, Bruno Ganz and Hanna Schygulla. Shot on location, the film drips authenticity in its creation of a dizzyingly complex world within which Ganz plays an experienced ‘seen-it-all’ journalist who has to face up to a series of moral questions when he arrives in Beirut to report on a political situation that is lurching into war.

Operation Ogre (CTBA) (Ogro)
Tue 12 Dec, 18:15
Dir Gillo Pontecorvo/ES IT 1979/115 mins/Italian wEng ST
Gian Maria Volontè, Ángela Molina, Saverio Marconi
From the director of Battle of Algiers and starring Gian Maria Volontè alongside Eusebio Poncela, José Sacristán and Ángela Molina. This story of the assassination by ETA of Colonel Carrero Blanco, Spanish dictator Franco’s right hand man, comes with heavyweight credentials. Less well known than Pontecorvo’s 1960s classic, this is a taut thriller that offers a complex set of positions in relation to what some called an act of terror and others political resistance.

Please Note: There will be introduction to most of the screenings at HOME, usually with a BSL interpreter. Please see website for details. To book tickets, please contact the HOME box office on (+44) 161 200 1500 or visit

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