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Giallo

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » June 1st, 2012, 9:46 pm

Thank you Mr. A. I hope you were able to pull yourself from the giallo to see "CLAUDELLE INGLISH."
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » June 11th, 2012, 11:18 am

Mario Bava takes a completely different approach for his 1970 giallo, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, showing us the face of the murderer in the opening frames and even giving us insight into his thoughts:

My name is John Harrington. I'm 30 years old. I'm a paranoiac. Paranoiac. An enchanting word, so civilized, full of possibilities. The truth is, I am completely mad. The realization which annoys me at first, but is now amusing to me. Quite amusing. Nobody suspects I am a madman. A dangerous murderer. Not Mildred, my wife. Nor the employees of my fashion center. Nor of course my customers.

Harrington might be a killer, but he--and we--are clueless as to the motive of his crimes and his only hope of understanding is to continue his homicidal spree:

I must go on wielding the cleaver. It's most annoying. But when I begin to hear the footsteps. Those stealthy footsteps, I know I just kill. And shall have to keep on killing, until I find out the truth. That's it, the whole truth.

One instantly draws connections with Peeping Tom (1960), but although Powell's film is a clear foundation, Hatchet for the Honeymoon uses the earlier work as a springboard, exploring supernatural and mystery aspects (each time he kills a small piece of the puzzle is revealed) that begin in Peeping Tom, but are more fully conceptualized (although that does not make it a better film, but a different one). Bava also pays tribute to his own Blood and Black Lace (1964), which many consider the foundational giallo film, by once again setting the murders in the world of fashion design, with Stephen Forsyth giving an excellent performance as an unhappy owner of a bridal company who feels that a woman should love once and die. Police investigation, normally inept in gialli films, has a strong prescence here and often seems to foreshadow the popular American Columbo TV series, although it is unclear if the creators ever saw Bava's film, or were aware of him at all. One can also see technical ideas that Argento borrowed for Deep Red (1975).

Visually, Hatchet for the Honeymoon is a treat for the eyes, with beautiful camerawork, disorienting pans, and Bava's incredible use of color, juxtaposed against an atmospheric score that sounds suspicously like Ennio Morricone. Perhaps not Bava's best, but surely one of them. Highly reccomended.

The film looks to be on Youtube in its entirety. Here is chapter one:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lza-0eLQRO0[/youtube]

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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 1st, 2012, 4:57 pm

Less and less time to watch films these days, but I did manage to see A Black Veil for Lisa (1968) recently:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4q8yPKdN9I[/youtube]

Directed by Massimo Dallamano (Venus in Furs [1970], What Have you Done to Solange? [1972]), the story deals with a tension filled marriage between an older police inspector and his young wife, who he suspects is unfaithful to him. In a lapse of good judgment, he blackmails a suspected hit man to ply his trade on her and things splinter from there. Where Dallmano's Solange is an incredible giallo, which plays on morals, and Venus in Furs breaks societal taboos, A Black Veil for Lisa is a rather flat noir/giallo hybrid that sounds far more exciting than it actually is.

Grade: C-

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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 12th, 2012, 10:29 pm

Since Lucio Fulci was mentioned in another recent thread, I thought I'd post a review of one of my (and Tarantino's) favorite gialli films, Seven Notes in Black AKA The Psychic (1977). Although Fulci is often known for excessive violence and gore, this film contains almost no bloodletting (is that possible in a giallo?!) and is instead a complex mystery with an appropriate nod to Edgar Allen Poe:


http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... hQ&cad=rja

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Re: Giallo

Postby MichiganJ » July 13th, 2012, 3:26 pm

Mr. Arkadin wrote:I thought I'd post a review of one of my (and Tarantino's) favorite gialli films, Seven Notes in Black AKA The Psychic (1977).


These multiple names for giallos gets confusing. Make sure you check for The Psychic on DVD and not just Seven Notes in Black. Seven Notes goes for $69 on Amazon; The Psychic is $19.
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » July 14th, 2012, 2:24 pm

MichiganJ wrote:
Mr. Arkadin wrote:I thought I'd post a review of one of my (and Tarantino's) favorite gialli films, Seven Notes in Black AKA The Psychic (1977).


These multiple names for giallos gets confusing. Make sure you check for The Psychic on DVD and not just Seven Notes in Black. Seven Notes goes for $69 on Amazon; The Psychic is $19.


So, the ($19 or $69) question is: What did you think of this one and was it worth the $$$?

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » September 2nd, 2012, 10:16 am

Hi there Mr. Arkadin.

I read you over at the "Noir City Visits Chicago" thread saying:

MR. ARKADIN wrote:I've been working another job on weekends (and might start a third soon) to put food on the table. When I am home I'm usually working on the house (and sometimes fixing the table so I can put the food on it), so my time is really limited right now...


Whew!! Quite an undertaking to keep the hearth fires burning. Admirable, Mr. A. Best of luck with taking care of your family.

Now to jump headfirst into the world of giallo.

You specifically came to mind when I accidentally came upon this: I was invited to do a Manhattan cable tv show last week and while I was waiting in the holding room, someone had left a program guide for one of NYC’s premiere “experimental movie” houses: The Anthology Film Archives on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. As I thumbed through the guide imagine my surprise and utter DEEEEEE-light when I saw this write-up of their upcoming programming for September:

ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES wrote:
GIALLO FEVER

The term Giallo, literally “yellow” in Italian, originally referred to a series of crime novels with trademark yellow covers. Giallo, as a film genre of Italian thrillers that grew out of these pulp fictions starting in the mid 60’s, became wildly popular in the 70’s, then faded away in the early 80s. Giallo left a legacy of films often overlooked but widely influential filmmakers such as Brian De Palma, Quentin Tarantino, and Darren Aronofsky. Apart from the signature blend of style and kitsch aesthetics, the genre features some of the most innovative scores ever created by the likes of Ennio Morricone, Riz Ortolani, and Goblin. While these films have enjoyed a revival of interest due to DVD release of several titles, they have yet to receive the 35mm treatment they absolutely deserve in a city like New York.

Programmed by Alessio Giorgetti, Alessio Grana and Yunsun Chae MALASTRANA FILM SERIES. Special thanks to Dario Argento, Simonetta Magnani CULTURAL ATTACHE-ITALIAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE NEW YORK, Adriana Chiesa Enterprises, Laura Argento CINETECA NAZIONALE, Chris Chouinard - PARK CIRCUS, Alba Gandolfo - CINETECA D.W.GRIFFITH, Harry Guerro, Alfredo Leone - INTERNATIONAL MEDIA FILMS, William Lustig - BLUE UNDERGROUND, Tony Musante, Marilee Womack - WB.

The festival will run from September 20 - 30.


WoW!!!

Now, I had some giallo films bookmarked on YouTube. I never got to them. ...At least not yet. But to see these films in 35mm, and in a movie theatre, where I can be a very structured, very willing captive audience...I am so there.

But YOU are THE Gialloist here at the SSO, Mr. A. I want to get your general thoughts of their line-up.

BIRD WITH CRYSTAL PLUMAGE ( 1970 ) Dario Argento - ( L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO )

Sam, an American writer living in Rome, witnesses a murder attempt. Trapped by a glass wall, he fails to intervene but manages to scare off the killer. The victim survives, and Sam finds himself increasingly drawn to the story, putting himself and his girlfriend in danger. Argento’s assured debut practically reinvented the genre overnight. He infuses the Hitchcockian psychosexual narrative with a whole new visual style, lensed by Vittorio Storaro and scored by Ennio Morricone. See firsthand why Hitchcock himself is said to have declared that, “that Italian fellow is starting to make me nervous” upon seeing this film.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE ( 1964 ) Mario Bava - ( SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO )

A masked killer is on the loose at a fashion house where all the models end up dead in various gruesome ways. At the center of this is a diary left by one of the victims, which contains incriminating details about the killer. Bava uses light, shadow, and color to stunning effect in this visual spectacle. And as always, his violent set-pieces will dazzle any fan of the genre.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

THE HOUSE OF THE LAUGHING WINDOWS ( 1976 ) Pupi Avati - ( LA CASA DALLE FINESTRE CHE RIDONO )

Stefano arrives in a rural Italian village to restore the local church’s decaying fresco of the suffering of St. Sebastian. The artist was a madman who created art from real life, painting portraits of subjects near death from torture (a possible allusion to snuff films). As Stefano digs deeper into the dark secrets surrounding the artist, a chain of murders begins, and he finds himself at the center of the ensuing nightmare. This masterpiece from Avati will haunt you with its atmosphere of dread and its diabolical twist ending.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING ( 1972 ) Lucio Fulci - ( NON SI SEVIZIA UN PAPERINO )

A reporter pairs up with a promiscuous young woman to expose the string of child killings in a remote village in Southern Italy rife with superstition and distrust of outsiders. As the usual suspects are proven innocent or end up dead, he must look in increasingly unlikely places to find the killer. This is Fulci’s personal favorite and a must-see!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH ( 1971 ) Sergio Martino - ( LO STRANO VIZIO DELLA SIGNORA WARDH )

Mrs. Wardh, played by the queen of Giallo, Edwige Fenech, harbors a secret vice that she keeps hidden from her older diplomat husband. When a string of murders by a black-gloved killer terrorizes the city, her sadistic former lover Jean reappears, intending to blackmail her. To make matters worse, she takes up with a new lover who convinces her to go off to Spain with him for her safety. But is she out of the woods yet? The mysterious killer seems to have followed her there….

* * * * * * * * * * * *

DEEP RED ( 1975 ) Dario Argento - ( PROFONDO ROSSO )

A renowned psychic channels the thoughts of a killer and is soon after brutally murdered. David Hemmings (BLOW-UP) plays a British pianist who witnesses this killing from afar and launches a solo investigation, putting his own life in peril. The music by Goblin completes this stylish masterpiece by Dario Argento.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? ( 1972 ) Massimo Dallamano - ( COSA AVETE FATTO A SOLANGE? )

A teacher and a student having an affair are on a clandestine outing on a boat when they witness the stabbing of another coed. Other gruesome murders follow, and the teacher becomes the main suspect. Dallamano’s complex plot and the shocking climax make this one of the smartest Giallos ever made.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY ( 1968 ) Elio Petri - ( UN TRANQUILLO POSTO DI CAMPAGNA )

Although rarely considered a Giallo, but rather more of a ghost story, Petri’s penetrating study of psychological decay is nonetheless full of the mystery and stylistics found in the genre’s best.

“This Italian-made color film, if you stay with it on its own terms, will absolutely nail you to the seat. … The picture visually hurtles and roars to a climax of complete logic and conviction, blending real and unreal images that will curl your hair. The total effect is devastating.” – Howard Thompson, NEW YORK TIMES


* * * * * * * * * * * *

THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH aka “THE EVIL EYE” ( 1963 ) Mario Bava - ( LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO )

Nora Davis’s holiday in Rome takes a sudden turn for the macabre when she witnesses the murder of a woman on the Spanish Steps. The next morning there is no trace of the crime, but Nora soon learns that there had been another murder ten years ago at the same location by the so-called ‘Alphabet Killer’. Her morbid curiosity takes her deeper into the story, and before long she discovers that the next victim’s last name starts with D! And who is that man following her? Widely regarded as the first Giallo, Bava’s stylish homage to Hitchcock’s ‘Americans Abroad’ thrillers is a natural entry-point into the genre.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

PERVERSION STORY aka “ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER” ( 1969 ) Lucio Fulci - ( UNA SULL’ALTRA )

A doctor is caught between his mistress and his asthmatic wife. When the wife is murdered all eyes turn to him, as he holds the insurance claim on her life. Fulci’s first Giallo shares unmistakable similarities with Hitchcock’s VERTIGO, capturing the mood of late-60s San Francisco. Sexual obsession, depravity, and deception converge in its surprising climax.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I know you've got your hands full, and your "play" time here on the Board is limited. But I hope you'll pop in from time to time. On my part so I may face Giallo fully informed, I'll go back over your thread.
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » September 2nd, 2012, 3:22 pm

The listing is in general, a good one. Almost all of these films are in print, so if you miss a showing, you can still rent or purchase them. The only film I see that is currently OOP is What Have you Done to Solange?, but I can help you out with that if needed.

As for what you should see if you can't go to all the shows, I would say the top four you should definitely make time for are Deep Red, Don't Torture a Duckling, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, and The House with Laughing Windows. These are all important films (incidentally, you can still buy Strange Vice under its American title, Blade of the Ripper) and three of them show their perspective directors at their creative peak.

Deep Red has everything a giallo fan hungers for in stylish shooting, a taut script, and great scoring, but it's the underlying themes that haunt you and are perhaps Argento's signature. Is truth absolute, or relative and if it is absolute--do we recognize it when we see it?

Don't Torture a Duckling is generally considered Lucio Fulci's best giallo (although I think Lizard in a Woman's Skin is definitely its equal) and has a lot of familiar faces including an incredible performance by Florinda Bolkan. Once again, the underbelly of the film is its genius, where we examine society and its relationship to morality to gain a deeper understanding of good vs. evil.

The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh is perhaps the most noirish of the four and while it's not Sergio Martino and Edwige Fenech's best collaboration (see All the Colors of the Dark, or Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, both [1972]), it's a good introduction to their work. Martino is perhaps one of the best visual directors of the genre and he brings it all to the table here.

The House with the Laughing Windows is one of those films that is difficult to describe, but I assure you, you won't be laughing after the film is over. It is an incredibly beautiful work that lingers in your memory and yet will challenge everything you believe about the inherent goodness of mankind.

As for the rest of the movies, they are all great films and worthy of seeing. The only ones I would hesitate to spend money on are Perversion Story, which was Fulci's first giallo and is rather mechanical and simplistic. Blood and Black Lace is considered the foundation of genre and everyone should see it sooner or later, but I don't think it has aged as well as some of his other films. I think The Evil Eye is a much better film and would see it instead if you have to choose between the two.

The remaining three--Bird, Solange, and A Quiet Place in the Country are superb films. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was Argento's debut and broke giallo abroad to an international audience. Solange might be Dallamano's best film (and this is the guy who made Venus in Furs [1970]), and Quiet is a thinking man's giallo mixed with arthouse and haunted house ideas.

Most of these are mentioned in the thread and you can find clips and reviews of almost all the films, but you'll have to scan the whole thread to find them. Let me know what you decide to see and please let me know your thoughts after viewing. I think your writing style and this genre would go hand in glove--a black leather glove that is.

Image

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » September 3rd, 2012, 10:13 pm

Mr. Arkadin wrote:...I think your writing style and this genre would go hand in glove--a black leather glove that is.

Image


Black leather....????!! Mmmmm. That is one of the absolute nicest compliments my writing has ever received. Thank you, Mr. A!! Now, I don’t know if my hack license can bring out Giallo’s complexities and profundities as you have, but I would like to try my hand at writing my thoughts about these classics.
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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » September 25th, 2012, 11:04 am

MR. ARKADIN wrote:I basically started this thread to document my journey and raise a little interest and discussion if I could. One of the problems the genre faces in finding new converts is the fact that if you talk about a film too much, you give away all the clues and suspense that make it enjoyable for first time viewers. Talk too little and nobody cares. I've tried to limit what I say and use trailers and other devices so that I don't spoil the films for others, but I'm happy to discuss them in depth with people who have seen them. Giallo and Eurotrash in general, are starting to garner some critical acclaim and I think in the future we will revere some of these works as we do Noir, or classic American horror, which were also considered disposable at one time.

I am sitting in the movies watching the minds of stark-raving psychosexual serial killers who can’t think of anything better to do with beautiful women than to kill them.

I dive headfirst into the pool of GIALLO at New York City’s ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES arthouse theater. Submerged in its world, and flailing about on the edge of my seat during its Giallo film festival, I look at the gruesome goings on with discomfort and ask myself over and over again:

“WHAT THE HECK DID I GET MYSELF INTO?!!”

Between features, as I anxiously sit in the dark theatre with jazzy discordant repetitious Morricone riffs ringing in my ears, no concession stand in sight or on site, surreptitiously sneaking bites of my Three Musketeers bar and Swedish Fish to keep my throat moist [ “NO FOOD OR DRINKS ALLOWED IN THIS THEATRE” ] trying to process what I have just seen, I say:

“SEX, MURDER and SUB-TITLES. YAHOO! WHAT’S NEXT?”

Of course I know what’s next. I’ve got my schedule all mapped out. “ENJOY” is probably not the best socially-acceptable word I can use for the movies I’ve been watching. “Shock” “dread” “titillating” “awe” might be better. Whatever the word...I am intrigued.
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » September 25th, 2012, 9:04 pm

CineMaven wrote:“WHAT THE HECK DID I GET MYSELF INTO?!!”


That's an interesting question, one I'm still trying to decipher. Much of the giallo world can be glimpsed in the Italian opera where violence and excess are melded with music. Another link is the spectrum of art and fashion, where many of the characters work or inhabit.

The Argento films in this series (The Bird with the Crystal Plumage [1969], Deep Red [1975]) have protagonists who are artists (one is a writer, another is a musician), but they (and we) must decipher actual artwork to gain understanding of the killer and subjective opinions (art is subjective) are often in error. This is perhaps what I like most about these movies--they make me think. While there is an exploitation aspect that often accompanies most people's perception of these films, it is used (in the better examples) as a vehicle to achieve a deeper subtext. While these directors might have toiled in the shadow of giants like Fellini, making a commercial product for the masses, there is no doubt that they reinterpreted the thriller as they did the western, creating a more cynical view of the conventional mystery and giving it new life in an ecstasy of bloodshed.

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » September 26th, 2012, 6:16 pm

One of our New York papers, THE VILLAGE VOICE gave the recent Giallo film festival a great review. PARACINEMA magazine weighs in on the festival as well TIME OUT magazine. Click on each photo to read the reviews:

Image and Image and Image

By the way, "HOUSE OF LAUGHING WINDOWS" totally FREAKED...ME...OUT!
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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » September 26th, 2012, 11:38 pm

Interesting articles and from what I saw they had a decent turnout, so maybe they will do this again sometime. All of the films they showed were available and in print except for What Have You Done to Solange? (1972). Here's the version I have--hold on for the sticker shock:

http://www.amazon.com/What-Have-You-Don ... to+solange

There are a lot of other great ones that have never been in print in the U.S. and I would love for them to begin to explore that pile of films because I think we are thinning the herd of Film Noir and it's getting very hard to put together a festival of unreleased material in that genre, as much as I enjoy it (although Dewey and ChiO could probably do so at a moment's notice).

I'll be interested to read your observations, as you, Moira and some of the others here can usually find themes and ideas in movies that it takes me three viewings to discover.

Yes, The House with the Laughing Windows (1976) is absolutely creepy--and amazing! I was reading the review from the guy who documented each day and I would have to say I find the quiet moments in that film very interesting (he did not), as Stephano slowly uncovers the truth of the fresco he is restoring and its link to the inhabitants of the village (this one reminds me a bit of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, or perhaps The Wicker Man [1973], only with different motivation). The movie is deliberately unhurried and gives us time to brood on our puzzle, feeding us hints here and there, building the suspense often with objects instead of characters. The last thirty minutes--as the reviewer describes--opens up the floodgates turning everything inside out, but at its heart, the film questions the idea of basic goodness, insinuating that there is no such thing. We all must live with some degree of evil, or compromise, and to fight it, is in vain. Our only hope is it will not consume us completely.

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Re: Giallo

Postby Mr. Arkadin » October 1st, 2012, 12:50 pm

In reading the festival reviews more fully, I am shocked that they chose to show the films in such poor condition (supposedly one lady stood up and told them to purchase the DVD print). These movies need to be seen in proper condition and aspect ratios because the visual aspect is at least half of the experience.

I was also dismayed to discover that Deep Red (1975) was presented in the edited English version, which omitted much of the "deeper" (no pun intended) aspects of the film. In particular, there is one scene in the deserted square between Marc and Carlo where Argento has them parting ways and then uses the widescreen process to establish them on the far ends of the screen (at the outer edges of the square) debating over a chasm of empty space about perception, relativism, and truth, themes which are at the heart of the movie.

I'm also curious about what version of The Girl Who Knew Too Much AKA The Evil Eye (1962) was shown. At the end of the U.S. version, the protagonist is persuaded to forget her ordeal and not get involved in others affairs--so much so, that she witnesses a man kill his wife and does nothing. Bava's original cut simply has her throw away marijuana cigarettes (disguised as regular tobacco) which are then picked up by a priest!

Hopefully, these problems can be corrected for future showings. In the meantime, I do have a computer with a sound card today, so here's a trailer from the aforementioned House with Laughing Windows (1976) with a bit of discussion:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38DNA7Vh3LY[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LQ81QZdgFA[/youtube]
Last edited by Mr. Arkadin on October 1st, 2012, 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Giallo

Postby CineMaven » October 1st, 2012, 6:27 pm

MR. ARKADIN wrote:In reading the festival reviews more fully, I am shocked that they chose to show the films in such poor condition (supposedly one lady stood up and told them to purchase the DVD print). These movies need to be seen in proper condition and aspect ratios because the visual aspect is at least half of the experience.

You can't miss what you never had.

The fadedness of some of the prints I saw did nothing to take away my shock and horror and excitement at immersing myself in the world of Giallo. In fact, in a strange way it added to its Otherness as a genre and of being from the 70's. I remember that lady making an announcement in the theatre but I didn't quite make out what she was announcing about from the back of the room.

I was also dismayed to discover that Deep Red (1975) was presented in the edited English version, which omitted much of the "deeper" (no pun intended) aspects of the film. In particular, there is one scene in the deserted square between Marc and Carlo where Argento has them parting ways and then uses the widescreen process to establish them on the far ends of the screen (at the outer edges of the square) debating over a chasm of empty space about perception, relativism, and truth, themes which are at the heart of the movie.

Mr. A., I seem to remember that scene being in tact; both characters speaking across the piazza. To be honest, I was grateful for hearing the movie in English which helped me watch things better.

I'm also curious about what version The Girl Who Knew Too Much AKA The Evil Eye (1962) was shown. At the end of the U.S. version, the protagonist is persuaded to forget her ordeal and not get involved in others affairs--so much so, that she witnesses a man kill his wife and does nothing. Bava's original cut simply has her throw away marajuana cigarettes (disguised as regular tobacco) which are then picked up by a priest!

I did see Bava's original cut then. I saw the priest pick up those "cigarettes." It was cute how that came around in the end after what she went threw in between. Leticia Roman was excellent.

Hopefully, these problems can be corrected for future showings. In the meantime, I do have a computer with a soundcard today, so here's a trailer from the aforementioned House with Laughing Windows (1976) with a bit of discussion...


The programmers of the festival are three young people. I don't know what their resources were in getting permission to get these 35mm prints. They probably were lucky to get what they got. I asked one of them if they were going to travel around with this show. He tole me to check on-line with Malastrana Film Series.com. Needless to say I've got to see these films more than once.
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