Saturday, September 20, 2008

genre, testimone oculare, memorable images

Truth-seekers : the eyewitnesses of The Girl Who Knew Too Much and The Bird With the Crystal Plumage.

"It should be understood then that the giallo is something different to that which is conventionally analysed as a genre. The Italians have the word filone, which is often used to refer to both genres and cycles as well as to currents and trends. This points to the limitations of genre theory built primarily on American film genres but also to the need for redefinition concerning how other popular film-producing nations understand and relate to their products. This introduction to the giallo, therefore, begins from the assumption that the giallo is not so much a genre, as its literary history might indicate, but a body of films that resists generic definition."
- Gary Needham

The more films I see from this "body of films", the more I realise just how permeable the borders existing between the gialli really are. One often hears of there being one or two prototypical films and the films that followed them to be stylised variations (the prototypes being Mario Bava's noirish The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963), "the first true Italian giallo", with its haunted testimone oculare, or perhaps his subsequent Blood and Black Lace (1964), with its experimentations with colour and lurid violence on bodies), but that would be denying the strongly imagistic nature of the individual films that followed: their reliance and perpetual insistence upon memorable - at times, intense - images that eclipse narrative (in retrospect, one recalls who the killer is revealed to be in a particular film through the one or two big imagistic clues which lead the heroine to the answers); the importance placed upon them acknowledged within the film itself through diegetic paintings, photographs, materialised mental imagery and hallucinations, which function as origins of madness [The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (Argento, 1970), The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (Miraglia, 1972)], objects of confusion and terror [The House With the Laughing Windows (Avati, 1976), Lizard in a Woman's Skin (Fulci, 1971), Deep Red (Argento, 1975), Seven Notes in Black (Fulci, 1977), Death Laid an Egg (Giulio Questi, 1968)], and ultimately, vessels of resolution [most of the above films along with two more key Argento's: The Cat O'Nine Tails and Four Flies on Grey Velvet (both 1971)]. A significant motif that attests to these films as being part of "a cinema of memorable images, in the tradition of expressionism" (Sylvain L.) ...


Anonymous Daniel said...

Fascinating! Only giallo I've seen is Argento, and have yet to place him (and his films) really within the context of their times. I'm too interested in his metaphysical mise-en-scene to get there yet! What inspired this recent viewing of "genre" films, Mubarak?

1:33 PM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Hi Daniel - Actually, I watch a lot more genre films than this blog may indicate. But (as you know) I rarely write about them, mostly because writing on such films doesn't come as naturally to me, and also there are always other films that actually need some light beamed on them. So this was a learning exercise (more so than usual...)

3:31 PM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Also - Argento is essential here, but if you are interested in gialli, you must also try and see Fulci's films from this period (and if you see just one, make it Don't Torture a Duckling).

3:50 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Who will pay to make a movie, without a defined genre these days?

8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's funny how we are living a tru gialio obsession almost at the same time - a few monts ago i was immersed in that italian genre, and those Argento's and Fulci you named are really major achievements. Good to have company in these, and yours is one of the best i could find.


9:41 PM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

This is very interesting. I agree with it. I think Italian genre films in 1970’s are full of memorable mental images, though some of their screenplays or stories may have some weak points. For example, I think PUZZLE (1974, Duccio Tessari, A-) is boring as a thriller, but what I like the most in this film is the mental image of “something” which flashes into the hero’s mind from time to time, and I also like the romantic aspect of this film. The beautiful mental images in these Italian genre films set them apart from films from other parts of the world. I like genre films from other countries, too, but maybe for different reasons. I like some American films such as TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974, Tobe Hooper) and I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (1970, David E. Durston) for their rawness. And I like some Spanish films such as WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? (1976, Narciso Ibanez Serrador), TO LET (2006, Jaume Balaguero), and THE BABY’S ROOM (2006, Alex de la Iglesia) for their stories or screenplays. I like the Australian genre films of Greg McLean for their beautiful scenery. But it’s hard to find genre films from other countries which are full of memorable mental images like Italian films in 1970’s. Having said that, I have to say that MURDER OF THE INUGAMI CLAN (2006, Kon Ichikawa) has some memorable mental images, too.

5:28 PM  
Blogger 每当遇见你 said...

Here’s a list of tools you will need to start: Jewelers’ pandora jewellery wire cutters - If you can only afford one pair, get memory wire shears. pandora charms These are designed to make clean cuts on tough memory wire, so can also be used for pandora charms uk softer wires. Chain-nose pliers sometimes called cheap pandora charms needle-nose pliers – Very versatile for picking up and grasping small items, pandora charms sale bending eye pins, closing jumps rings, even closing crimp beads. discount pandora charms Round-nose pliers – Used for creating loops on beaded head and eye pins. Can also be used for winding your own jump rings and as the second pliers you’cheap pandora ll need for closing jump rings. Optional pliers – Wire-looping pliers which have several graduated circumferences to allow you to form perfectly uniform jump rings and loops in place of the pandora discount uk round-nose pliers mentioned above. Crimping pliers which have little notches to allow you to both flatten a crimp bead and then bend it to form a rounded finished look instead of the flat crimp you pandora uk get using the chain-nose pliers. As for materials, I recommend some assortment packs of beads in coordinating colors, some decorative metal spacers, seed beads in both silver and gold These can serve as spacers and beautifully set off pandora sale your other beads., tube-shaped crimp beads Buy the best you can find – these are what hold it all together!, head and eye pins. Other than that, let your choice of project be your guide. You might want some silver or pewter charms.

8:14 AM  
Blogger leader said...

In most cases, thomas sabo charms buildings insurance covers the sourcing cost of rebuilding or thomas sabo restoring your properties structure in a case where it is destroyed by an event paid for thomas sabo bracelets by your home insurance plan, whilst contents insurance protects the price of replacing specified things. cheap thomas sabo watches Families are often demanded to order home insurance as a general condition of obtaining their mortgage, thpmas sabo although, they may be under no obligation to buy it using their mortgage service provider.

3:37 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]