Searchlights scan the skies over Tinseltown as Auto Universum announces the winner of the 2015 Comète d’Or du Cinéma, awarded in recognition of films best capturing the look and feel of the Jet Age heyday as celebrated at Auto Universum. This years Comète d’Or has been bestowed upon The 10th Victim (La Decima Vittima), a lush Italian-French science fiction cinematic gem from the heart of the 1960s.
This 1965 film, starring Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress, takes place in the near future when the licensed hunting of humans is an ongoing government-regulated and televised sport; the ultimate in reality television, decades before the term was coined.
What makes this motion picture worthy of garnering the Auto Universum Étoile d’Or du Cinéma is the stylish artistic design that created an sumptuous look at the near future as seen from the vantage point of 1965. The attempt to create a believable simulacrum proved quite successful.
The latest trends in avant-garde art, design, fashion and music were seamlessly integrated into a coherent whole that looked convincingly futuristic, and indeed influenced many later films including Barbarella and Diabolik.
The sets combine elements of Pop Art, Op Art and even Surrealism. The 10th Victim was the first major film to feature Op Art imagery, a movement that had its first significant museum show at New York’s MoMA just a few months before the film began principal photography.
A number of objects in the film call to mind the work of Bridget Riley or Julian Stanczaky, and one set utilizes papier-mâché pieces resembling the plaster-bandaged white figurative sculptures of George Segal.
So up-to-the-minute is The 10th Victim that it not only could it have not been made in 1964, its aesthetics are such that it looks very much like something created in late 1967 or 1968. Given the pace of change in the nineteen-sixties, this was quite an achievement.
Finally, the film incorporates a mesmerizing electronic score by Piero Piccioni, who described the music as futuristic jazz. The soundtrack was said to be a favorite of Andy Warhol.
For a cutting edge glimpse at the art and design worlds at the epicenter of the 1960s, look no further.