The Mattei Affair

1972 [ITALIAN]

Biography / Drama / Mystery

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright78%
IMDb Rating7.6102177

Plot summary

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Top cast

Gian Maria Volonté Photo
Gian Maria Volonté as Enrico Mattei
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
1.05 GB
Italian 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
P/S 3 / 19
1.94 GB
Italian 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
P/S 14 / 41

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by FilmCriticLalitRao10 / 10

A mind boggling political film from a great Italian film maker Francesco Rosi

It must be made clear that "Il Caso Mattei" is a different Italian film.This film is not a biographical analysis of a powerful man who mattered a lot to politicians in Italy.It has been directed by Francesco Rosi,a great Italian film director whose films always made a point to expose what was going wrong with Italy.This is the reason why he can be called the conscience keeper of Italy.Italian actor Gian Maria Volonté shines in one of his life's most outstanding roles as Enrico Mattei,an oil magnate who was one of Italy's most powerful men.Francesco Rosi has made his film in almost a subtle documentary manner but the film has nothing to do with documentary cinema.Il Caso Mattei is considered a supreme example of political cinema genre.It is one of those rare films which succeed in making their point noted without being neither controversial nor brash.This is all due to Francesco Rosi's cool and calm direction.A film to watch if you want to explore cinematographic oeuvre of Francesco Rosi,one of Italian cinema's greatest directors.

Reviewed by JohnSeal7 / 10

Case open

Being an ignorant non-Italian, I'd never heard of Enrico Mattei before seeing this film. Now that I've watched The Mattei Case, I feel compelled to know more! Gian Maria Volonte is outstanding as a left-wing oil tycoon whose determination to keep petrol proceeds out of the hands of private multinationals made him enemies in big business and organized crime. The film plays a bit like a Costa-Gavras political thriller, and it's interesting to see director Francesco Rosi in a sizable cameo as a filmmaker trying to make a film about Mattei! Though the film was designed specifically for Italian audiences, it's story of greed, corruption, and resource wars seems entirely contemporary. Also of note: Piero Piccioni's claustrophobic musique concret score.

Reviewed by Arca194310 / 10

Of one the most interesting films I have ever seen

CONTAINS SPOILERS. One thing I find very Cinecittà, very Francesco Rosi about The Mattei Affair is how the authors (which also include writer Tonino Guerra and star Gian Maria Volontè) succeed at making us grasp both the negative and positive impacts of Mattei and his action on post-war Italy.

At one point in the film, you hear a character saying that the Italian "economic miracle" (early sixties) is mostly due to the great Enrico Mattei. At some other point, another character says that had the dangerous Enrico Mattei succeeded, democracy in Italy was «finished». Well, without stating it in the open, the film has a way to convey that both these points of view are equally blatant exaggerations; that the truth about Enrico Mattei is a complicated mix, to be exposed in a very short, very concentrated two-hour movie.

Indeed, to succeed at conveying the essential about Mattei IN ONLY TWO HOURS is a already a tour de force.

So you have the sincere Mattei and the demagogic Mattei. You have Mattei the antifascist leader - he fought with the Christian Democrats, by the way, not the Socialists, Mr. De Luca - and then you have the postwar public-sector mogul who compromises (however briefly) in maneuvering with the Neo-Fascist party (MSI) in order to bring about some by-law he needed for ENI's ends. You have Mattei the genius of management, who performed miracles and made the Italian State a fierce competitor against American, British and French petroleum companies, but also the Mattei whose massive and creative use of public money was out of control (he launched a daily newspaper, among other things, in order to promote ENI's interests). You have Mattei the patriot, the man of vision who understood that his country, compared with most other Western countries, was the most devoid of energy resources and had somehow to get around this infrastructural weakness by a bold, risky development policy that included playing rough'n'tough against the British-American petroleum monopoly. But then you have the most dangerous Mattei who, especially after the death of Foreign Affairs minister Carlo Sforza in 1952, started to impose his own foreign-affairs agenda on the Italian government by placing it in front of a series of accomplished facts. And this, by the way, explains how Italy in the 50s could be one of Washington's most solid political allies in Europe on the one hand, while dealing on the other hand with the Soviet Union for a prolongation of a Soviet pipe-line that would reach to Italy through the Balkans.

I could continue like this for many more paragraphs. When I first saw L'Affaire Mattei (in its excellent French version, back in the late 70s when I was a not-too-bright teenager watching TV),I knew zilch about Italy. But this outstanding film, as well as a flock of other Italian movies of the same miraculous era, convinced me that this country like no other was really worth learning more about. How true that was, I still can't believe it today.

One more thing : the De Mauro affair. In 1970, journalist Mauro de Mauro was hired by filmmaker Francesco Rosi in order to document the last days of Enrico Mattei, who died in the crash of his plane. A crash whose cause is still controversial : as of right now, with the documents actually available, neither accident nor murder can be ruled out.

So journalist De Mauro was hired by Rosi to inquire in Sicily about Mattei's death - and he vanished. His body was never found. Two police bodies investigated the matter. The conclusions of the Carabinieri were that De Mauro's murder (murder in all likeliness) was a Mafia action linked to a series of papers he had recently published about the drug trade. The conclusions of the Questura (national police) was that De Mauro had been murdered as a direct result of his investigation on Enrico Mattei's death.

As could be expected, both versions are given equal importance in this Francesco Rosi film. But now, just for kicks, let's imagine it's the Questura investigators who had it right : then it would mean that a film that was meant to be ABOUT the Mattei affair became A PART of the Mattei affair. Anyway, whatever the truth on this issue, that much is clear : Mr. Rosi and his friends were filming in hot water.

And speaking of hot water, il caso Mattei was released in 1972 - roughly a year before the first petroleum shock.

And to top it all, Mattei is interpreted by the mesmerizing Gian Maria Volontè ! He alone is worth the show.

To me, the Mattei Affair is one of the best political films ever made.

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