Double Feature

The Sicilian

Year of the Dragon

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The Sicilian

Based on the 1984 book by Mario Puzo, “The Sicilian” novel was originally part of “The Godfather” literary saga. Due to copyright issues, all references to the Corleone family, specifically Michael, whose character was in exile in Sicily during the period of the story, was excised from the film adaptation. The real life Salvatore Giuliano, by standards of the day a lower middle class peasant whose parents owned a small plot of land, rose to prominence trading food on the black market after the Allies liberated Sicily during WW2. A cascade of violent events was spurred by collusion of the carabinieri (former fascist state police), local mafioso and American armed forces to go after the smaller fish in the black market while leaving the corrupt major players untouched. Giuliano ignited a grass roots movement of resistance, eventually retaliating with kidnappings and extortion of the wealthy. Police killings by his roving band of brigands escalated, and Giuliano soon became a naïve but influential power broker, mingling with various center right forces angling for Sicilian independence. Giuliano’s ego and misunderstanding of the size and complex mosaic of factions gathering against him, which end up subverting even his most loyal friend, Gaspare (John Turturro), leads to his downfall. The terrific cast includes Terence Stamp, Joss Ackland, Barbara Sukowa and Aldo Ray.

Director
Michael Cimino
Starring
Christopher Lambert, Terence Stamp, Joss Ackland, John Turturro, Richard Bauer
Year
1987
Rated
R
Country
USA
Format
35mm
Running Time
115 minutes

Year of the Dragon

Writer/director Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon follows a violent, politically incorrect Vietnam vet cop (Mickey Rourke) going on the rampage when he is given a mandate by his superiors to clean up the youth gangs threatening mob war in New York City’s Chinatown. He finds a formidable opponent in John Lone, an elegant upstart restaurant owner who is dealing cocaine and secretly pulling strings behind the scenes to usurp power from the elders of the Chinese-American underworld. As Rourke and Lone repeatedly clash, things become more and more personal, inexorably sucking Rourke’s bitter, long-suffering wife (Caroline Kava) and TV reporter mistress (Ariane Koizumi) into the fray. The pyrotechnics culminate in one of the most exhilarating climactic showdowns this side of John Woo’s The Killer. Featuring an explosive script co-written by Oliver Stone.

“You forget to breathe during it!”- Quentin Tarantino

“Cimino is a blazingly gifted movie maker, he has succeeded astonishingly. Year of the Dragon has an arrogant, electric energy that dares you to look away from the screen for an instant. Do so and you miss a furious piece of action that has bubbled up, seemingly out of nowhere.…why does Year of the Dragon linger so long and so hauntingly? Because it’s part ‘documentary,’ part grand opera.” – Sheila Benson, The Los Angeles Times

In an in-depth exploration of the film, Cinephilia & Beyond declares Year of the Dragon one of the most significant action movies of the period.

Ariel Schudson discusses the controversy and artistry of Year of the Dragon on the New Beverly blog.

Director
Michael Cimino
Starring
Mickey Rourke, John Lone, Ariane, Dennis Dun
Year
1985
Rated
R
Country
USA
Format
35mm
Running Time
134 minutes

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