Todo modo

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Todo modo
Locandina Todo modo.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Elio Petri
Screenplay byBerto Pelosso
Elio Petri
Based on
Produced byDaniele Senatore
Starring Gian Maria Volonté
Marcello Mastroianni
Mariangela Melato
Cinematography Luigi Kuveiller
Edited by Ruggero Mastroianni
Music by Ennio Morricone
Distributed byPIC
Release dates
  • 30 April 1976 (1976-04-30)(Italy) [1]
  • 13 April 2015 (2015-04-13)(Italy, re-release) [1]
Running time
130 minutes

Todo modo (lit. "By all means"), [lower-alpha 1] also known in English as One Way or Another, is a 1976 Italian satirical [4] political drama film directed by Elio Petri starring Gian Maria Volonté and Marcello Mastroianni. [1] [3] [5] It is loosely based on the novel of the same name by Leonardo Sciascia. [1]



During a mysterious epidemic in Italy, numerous political leaders, industrialists, bankers, and business leaders of the ruling party, the Christian Democrats, arrive in a hotel called Zafer. With the party's central figure, president M., in their midst, they have gathered for an annual three-day retreat, inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. The retreat acts as an atonement for their past crimes of corruption and unethical practices, and a renewal of the party's structure, leaders, and interests in order to maintain power in the country. The religious exercises are practiced under the guidance of priest Don Gaetano, who dominates all those at the retreat. Over the course of the next three days, one by one the leading figures of the party fall victim to a murder series, despite investigations by the police. In the last scene, M., the sole survivor of the party, walks through the terrain outside of the hotel, where the corpses of the murdered have been piled up. Reciting Loyola's spiritual exercises, he asks his chauffeur to kill him.



Volonté's character "M." (who was not in Sciascia's book but invented by Petri) [6] was modeled after Aldo Moro, then prime minister of Italy. [5] As Elio Petri noted in his diary, the actor was so absorbed with his role that he took on the movements and intonation of Moro throughout the filming. [5] In the words of Petri biographers Federico Bacci, Nicola Guarneri and Stefano Leone, the film is a portrait of the "deviant" mental structure of the men in power of the Christian Democrats. [7]

Release and reception

Todo modo met with much controversy during its initial release. [6] In his review for L'espresso , Alberto Moravia argued that the film was driven solely by its "hatred against the ruling group currently in power in Italy". [8] Leonardo Sciascia, author of the novel which the film was based upon, defended Petri's adaptation, stating, "Todo modo is a Pasolini film, in the sense that the trial that Pasolini wanted and was unable to bring against the Christian Democratic ruling class is now done by Petri." [6] Two years later, after the Red Brigade's murder of Aldo Moro, the film, depending on the source, was either withdrawn from circulation [4] or outright banned. [9]

In 2014, the film, restored by the Cineteca di Bologna and the National Museum of Cinema, Turin, [1] [5] was presented at the 71st Venice International Film Festival. [1] It saw a theatrical re-release the following year. [1]



  1. The title refers to Ignatius de Loyola's quotation "Todo modo para buscar la voluntad divina", English translation "Use all means in the search for the divine will". [2] [3]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Todo modo". Cinematografo (in Italian). Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  2. Liehm, Mira (1984). Passion and Defiance: Italian Film from 1942 to the Present. University of California Press. p. 354. ISBN   9780520057449.
  3. 1 2 Canby, Vincent (14 December 1979). "Screen: Two Vehicles For Mastroianni at Thalia". The New York Times . Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  4. 1 2 "Todo Modo. 1976. Directed by Elio Petri". Museum of Modern Art . 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Giubilei, Franco (1 September 2014). "Restaurato "Todo Modo", il film che anticipò l'uccisione di Aldo Moro". La Stampa (in Italian). Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 "Todo modo". Treccani (in Italian). Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  7. Petri, Elio; Bacci, Federico; Guarneri, Nicola; Leone, Stefano (2006). Un amore lungo: tre inediti di Elio Petri (in Italian). Feltrinelli Editore. p. 11. ISBN   9788807740213.
  8. "Todo modo: antologia critica". Il Cinema ritrovato (in Italian). Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  9. Resmini, Mauro (2023). Italian Political Cinema: Figures of the Long '68. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN   9781517911386.