Trapped in the Bed Frame: On Marco Bellocchio’s ‘Devil in the Flesh’

On a particularly hot day, the drudgery of a Catholic high school class is interrupted by the sounds of a woman on a roof next door, screaming and threatening to jump. The students run to the window to watch, ignoring their teacher’s reading of Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli: "Look out, the dead are coming. The sad, pale dead." A young priest, out of uniform, attempts to talk her down. The commotion wakes Giulia (Maruschka Detmers), who groggily walks to her balcony. In an extended close up, the woman seems to awaken from her gibbering. It’s as though she’s had some transference with Giulia, who barely holds back tears.   The cinema of Marco Bellocchio is filled with such tense outbursts, driven as they are by a spritz of Medi
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