Wednesday, December 28, 2005

One image says it all



Gialli's plots explanation or resolution often hides within one key image.

In "The bird with the crystal plumage", it's a painting - bought in an antique shop - which reflects the initial trauma experienced by the murderer.
"The bloodstained shadow" also revolves around a painting which depicts the terrible truth behind a scene the main character was a witness of when he was a child, and that he could not remember in details.

It's a photograph that reveals, when blown up several times, a murder was committed in Antonioni's "Blow-up". A similar treatment applied to a newspaper photograph (by the way, how unrealistic given the usual quality of pictures in papers!) unveils the secret behind the scorpion cuff links in "The case of the scorpion's tail".
We could also mention it's the re-cropping of a photograph which shows that what initially looked like an accident - a man falling under a train in a railway station - was indeed a murder in Argento's "The cat o'nine tails"...

Paintings or photographs, Giallo marks the victory of the visual and symbolic approach over the narrative, litterary explanations which used to prevail in "classic" thrillers up until the late 60s.
In this instance, it illustrates this genre's modernity, reflecting the movement towards the image-based society we all know now.

2 comments:

Tom said...

Thank you for your very interesting site! It occured to me that another example of this is the dogs episode in Una Lucertola - in this case the extreme impact of the image radically deepens one's understanding of the lead character; Carol is herself opened up surgically by the film, her heart exposed. It's a bold statement of the cruelty of the genre itself and its structures... linking that to psychology. And it's interesting, the connection the film draws between vivisection (the experimental branch of medicine) and the psychological (it takes place in some kind of psychiatric unit). But the scene, in its sheer gratuitousness, works principly as a metaphor I think - it's how Carol sees herself and what is being done to her. I find it interesting, incidentally, how Fulci uses isolated scenes of extreme violence to show his sincerity, like someone cutting their wrists to prove a point about themselves, and yet it works... the point is taken. When people say a Fulci movie is just a long excuse for a trademark scene of violence, they're kind of right, but I still don't understand what gives Fulci's gore such moral and emotional depth.

Ben Robinson said...

A brilliant, eminently readable blog - I am a huge Giallo fan and recently made a short film - SLASH HIVE, aka SIX DEATHS IN A WASP'S EYE - which was my first (of many...) tributes to the most fascinating of genres.....

Keep up the good work, and check out SLASH HIVE on youtube....