Giallo Journals

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Giallo Journals

Postby MikLosk » Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:30 am

There were a very specific genre in 1970's in Italian cinema. It's called giallo in italian (literally - yellow). In italian language this word means "detective". Somebody could call it an italian film noir, but these movies had some stylistic features (e.g. special use of camera and "stupid" screenplays). I believe there were not really great movies, masterpieces in this genre, but some are really interesting and original. Maybe it isn't worth to seriously explorate giallo here. So, here are my short takes and some recommendations. Of course, everybody is welcome to contribute to the thread.

Una lucertola con la pelle di donna/Lizard in a Woman's Skin (Lucio Fulci, 1971)
One of the best giallo movies - who would ever thought! - is created by Lucio Fulci - the author of stupid mainstream comedies and trash horror. The film is set in London: the wife of a succesfull lawyer has obtrusive dreams about licentious orgies in the apartment next door. In one of these dreams a neighbour becomes the victim of the murder - in the morning this dream becomes real. The most interesting thing in the movie is not the Inspector Corvin investigation, not screenplay. The most interesting thing in the movie is its "visual tone"- so consistent and exquisite that even the scene of a banal conversation in the drawing-room captivates with its geometrical structure; its composition is so adjusted! There are several brilliant surrealistic takes: e.g. flying shadow of the swan hunting Florinda in her dream. So, forget about stupid screenplay and enjoy visual constituent of the picture! 8/10
MikLosk
 


Re: Giallo Journals

Postby MikLosk » Wed Sep 27, 2006 5:18 am

Il profumo della signora in nero/The Perfume of the Lady in Black (Francesco Barilli, 1974)
Although this film is too original to consider it a typical giallo, it's maybe the best film of this genre. Mimsy Farmer surprisingly combines adult feminity with childish delicacy. It is a Persephone for the sake of whom Hade will try to do everything possible. Brilliant cinematography (first take should be in encyclopaedia) fills movie world with surrealistic elements with allusions to Alice in the Wonderland; light transcendental features are more elegant than in Argento films. The end of the movie is very surprising and really unique - I don't want to spoil. This is a rare giallo that you'll remember for a long time as a whole, with unique athmosphere and penetrating visual themes (I would only say haunting). The director Francesco Barilli created only one more movie - Pensione paura (also giallo) that is unforunately absolutely unavailable.9/10
MikLosk
 

Re: Giallo Journals

Postby A » Tue Oct 03, 2006 2:09 pm

Whoa Mik. Great thread you opened!
I`m completely overwhelmed, as this is for me one of the most interesting aspects of cinema history I know absolutely nothing about. Here in Germany the films you can get (at low cost) are all censored and cut, with most of the films being sold in a horrible aspect ratio (full-frame). As I try to always see the version closest to the original, I didn`t have the opportunity to watch any of these films.
Where did you see them, btw?
I hope you`ll continue this thread, and much more will follow.
The images you posted are really beautiful and impressive. But it seems to take a lot of time for them to load. Maybe it would be more convenient if you could post only one or two images in a compressed form.
A
 

Re: Giallo Journals

Postby MikLosk » Wed Oct 04, 2006 5:54 am

Wow, somebody answered! I thought nobody would be interested in giallo. Very glad to know that I don't post in void.

You know, I work in Moscow Cinema Museum. We got several giallo DVD from Italian embassy to make screenings (DVD projections). I promise that I'll write short reviews on some of them (maybe 4 or 5) next week.
MikLosk
 

Re: Giallo Journals

Postby A » Thu Oct 05, 2006 11:47 am

You definitely don`t post in void, and I`m sure more people than just me are reading this thread. I always read absolutely everything on the board, though it sometimes takes a while till I catch up with everything.

Could you post some infor on the DVDs, with running time and frame-size? Are the subs in english?
A
 

Re: Giallo Journals

Postby justindeimen » Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:24 pm

I'm not the biggest fan of Giallos. Basically because there are more crap than I'd like to know about, but this thread is interesting because I do know about those that are great (and there are no guilty pleasures). MikLosk's posts are helping me to weed them out Plus I always had a desire to learn more about Dario Argento.
justindeimen
 

Re: Giallo Journals

Postby MikLosk » Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:04 am

Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso/Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (Umberto Lenzi, 1972)
Elusive criminal kills one after another women, unified only with the fact that all of them stayed in the same resort hotel several years ago. The film doesn't contain garish formalistic crotchets, its cinematography isn't very bright, but the narrative energy of the movie keeps viewer's attention (unprecedented thing for a giallo film). You can guess the murder earlier than it's necessary, his logic is really silly, but director's competence is undoubtful. Besides, Riz Ortolani's music is very good. 6/10
MikLosk
 

Re: Giallo Journals

Postby MikLosk » Wed Oct 11, 2006 6:19 am

@A
Yes, subs are in english. Unfortunately, I can't give you more info: retrospective is over and discs are sent back to Italian embassy. I've not even seen them: shots were made by my friend, who wrote the article about giallo for the one of russian cinema journals.
MikLosk
 

Re: Giallo Journals

Postby arsaib4 » Wed Oct 11, 2006 10:18 pm

The "Giallo," one of Italian horror's most important subgenres, got started in the early-60's with such films as The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Blood and Black Lace -- both directed by Mario Bava, who along with Dario Argento, made the genre's initial great films. They were then joined by the likes of Lucio Fulci and Umberto Lenzi, whose popular giallos have been discussed in this thread. I probably like the ones by Argento the best (e.g. Deep Red), especially because of his intimate collaboration with the great Ennio Morricone.
arsaib4
 

Re: Giallo Journals

Postby A » Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:32 pm

I got to see two Giallo films as a double feature at a local cinema last week. Both were projected from a DVD, and unfortunately the second disc was damged, and we didn't get to see the ending. Imo it was even better than the first one, though I won't be able t confirm it, unless I watch it completely On a side note, the script was written by Tonino Guerra under a pseudonym who is a living legend. Having worked amongst others for Antonioni, Pasolini, Tarkovski, and Angelopoulos, Guerra is without doubt one of the best and most influential scenarists of all time. Parts of it could be witnessed in this film. Nevertheless I will only write a few notes on the first film. I also managed to dig out a beautiful screenshot from it.

Il tuo vizio una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave
Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key
(Sergio Martino / Italy / 1972)



I think this was actually the first Giallo film I've seen, and I was really impressed. Many people consider this a classic of the genre and I can see why it is appreciated. Still it has some considerable flaws, most apparent in the narrative which doesn't always make sense and has some apparent plot-holes. Nevertheless this doesn't distract too much from the overall impact. Based on the short story "The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe, the film is more of a gothic horror film, than a giallo in the traditional sense. It creates a haunting atmosphere through an assured direction (I'll keep an eye out for more films by Sergio Martino), and the actors are well chosen. But the most impressive is clearly the fabulous camerawork. What Giancarlo Ferrando achieves with his camerawork can be placed alongside most other noteworthy 70s films, and I've rarely seen it done any better in a genre movie. Adapting to every situation he uses lighting and color in a masterful way, switching from completely artificial sets to documentary-styled sequences shot on location. The compositions of certain images and even sequences are at times flawless, and the way he for example switches from a close-up to a long-shot is responsible for a huge part of the impact of a certain scene. Breaking some conventional rules of Hollywood cinema, his work is inventive and original. The same goes for the editing. One sequence at the end of the film is pure genius, and deploys some of the editing devices used by Eisenstein or Godard to a surprising effect. Overall this is an extremely well made film which deserves to be seen.
64 out of 100
A
 

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