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Cinema Egzotik: Tomas Milian Night

A tribute to the Cuban-born actor Tomas Milian who died this year. Milian had a rich career spanning over a hundred films. He starred in iconic spaghetti westerns, violent poliziotti films but also appeared in supporting roles in films by Antonioni, Bertolucci, Soderbergh and others.

Tomas milian

Milian (1933-2017), a veteran Method Actor, made a name for himself in the 1960s and 1970s as a – Mexican – villain in Sergio Corbucci”s spaghetti westerns and as a dangerous psychopath in Umberto Lenzi”s violent police and crime films. The Italian audiences embraced Milian – the son of a general who opposed Castro”s revolution – in his role of “Er Monezza”, a vulgar-mouthed Roman thief, and that of Nico Giraldi, an inspector reminiscent of Serpico.

Programmer Martin Koolhoven explains. “When genre hero Tomas Milian died earlier this year, we knew we had to schedule an evening in his honour. Few people in the Netherlands realize how popular this versatile actor really was, especially in Italy. He played in numerous very successful spaghetti westerns, poliziotteschi, exploitation films and comedies, but he also worked for filmmakers like Visconti, Spielberg, Bertolucci and Soderbergh. Milian was born in Cuba, trained at The Actors Studio (the cradle of actors like Brando, Newman, Pacino and De Niro), but his career really took off when he moved to Italy in the late 1950s. Tonight we”ll be seeing him in an Italian re-working of Hitchcock”s Strangers on a Train and in what may qualify as the most irreverent eurocrime film ever made.”

The Designated Victim (1971) - Maurizio Lucidi - Tomas Milian, Pierre Clémenti & Katia Christine - 105 minutes

How to commit two perfect murders? It”s what this Italian thriller seems to be all about. Matteo, a decadent dope-scoring hippie aristocrat (Pierre Clementi) meets corrupt playboy Stefano (Tomas Milian). Matteo offers to kill Stefano”s rich but nagging wife if Stefano agrees to take care of Matteo”s hated brother. It”s dead easy – or is it? Milian also performed a song on the soundtrack, 'My Shadow in the Dark'.

Almost Human (1974) - Umberto Lenzi - Tomas Milian, Henry Silva & Laura Belli - 99 minutes

Small-time bandit Giulio Sacchi (Tomas Milian) decides to make it big and kidnap the beautiful daughter of a millionaire. Inspector Grandi tries to rescue both the girl and the ransom money. Milano odia… is Lenzi”s reflection on the “anni di piombo” – the Years of Lead – when the Red Brigade emptied their machine guns in the name of the proletariat, and the police force proved largely ineffectual against the red reign of terror.

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