Capital punishment issue a terminal bore in 'Doors'

August 21, 1991|By Lou Cedrone | Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff

"Open Doors," playing today at the Charles, is a 1990 Italian production, a passionless argument against capital punishment.

Based on the novel by Leonardo Sciascia, the film takes place in 1937 in Palermo, when Mussolini was still in power. One of the principal characters is a man who murders two of his former co-workers, then rapes and kills his wife. One of the judges at his trial is unmoved by the fact that the killer wants to die. He is against capital punishment and will look for a way to save the man's life.

As a polemic, "Open Doors" may be taken as is -- you may either agree or disagree with it. As filmmaking, however, it is largely an exhausting experience, a film that takes its good time making its point.

The film may have been made for television. It is divided into two parts. It also plays like a television drama that has been stretched to meet the allotted time.

The most interesting thing about the film is the casting of Gian Maria Volonte as the judge who hopes to save the killer from execution.

Volonte has been working in Italian films for three decades. He starred in "Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion," which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film of 1970.

"Open Doors"

* A judge works to win a life sentence for a man who has murdered three people.

CAST: Gian Maria Volonte, Ennio Fantastichini, Renzo Giovampietro.

DIRECTOR: Gianni Amelio

Rating: R (sex, violence)

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

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