Now resuscitated (in a digitally remastered version) after fifty years, Elio Petri’s I giorni contati (1962), translatable as Numbered Days, appears as the most modern and innovative masterpiece among current releases. Simple and philosophical – linear, yet freely moving in the realms of the accidental and the socially defined – it appears to be a restless search for the meaning of ordinary, daily life.
It is a personal story, a truly visual investigation of unbalanced energy that attempts to say many things at once... The camera is a palpable presence throughout, adding its reality to the scene. Its fluid, almost neurotic use prefigures the baroque visuality of later films by the director, a quality that would bring David Thomson to describe as Petri’s “frantic visual style”.