Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The spiral


A film can have a geometry: lines, curves, circles, squares, angles, spirals.
It can also have an architecture: volumes, lights, shadows, contrasts, space, narrow corridors, spiral staircases.
Giornata nera per l'ariete (The Fifth Cord, AKA Black Day for Aries - Luigi Bazzoni, 1971) has spiral staircases everywhere. It's a movie made out of spiral staircases. If it did not strike you in the first place, take a second look at it. Almost every other scene has a spiral staircase in it.
In the background, in the foreground, in the frame of a window...
The spiral as the graphic backbone of the movie.

"The Fifth Cord" is also about astrology. Symbolism, zodiacal signs, fate, symmetry, the predictability of things. A kind of esoteric geometry, where the sign of Aries plays the core role:
take the horns of an aries - in their simplest shape, they are in fact spirals.
And if you look at a spiral staircase from above, it definitely looks like aries' horns.

It is always interesting, this obsession of a director for symbolism.


"Giornata nera per l'ariete" is an incredibly stylish film. Amateurs of design and architecture will definitely love it. Not to mention the great photography. Definitely a giallo bringing something to Giallo, by radicalising its aesthetics in every single detail - and with another of these amazing Morricone's scores.

4 comments:

robert said...

the cinematography here is truly something,
it makes a lot of filmmakers (especially current ones) look very lazy.

Whiggles said...

The Fifth Cord is in my opinion quite possibly the best-looking giallo out there. The first time I saw it, I was absolutely astounded by some of the compositions, including the highly inventive use of colour, architecture and parallel lines. I've always felt that the astrology element was poorly integrated into the plot itself, but as a visual feast you can't beat it.

Tiffany said...

This is one of my favorites and I cannot believe I did not pick up the spiral staircase theme!

Good thing I have it saved to my computer.

Phillip said...

absolutely astounding film making! When i first rented this, i was expecting another fast and cheap mystery. Instead, what i got was the most visually stunning films I have seen in the entire genre. Wonderful geometry and lighting, each scene exists as art. Even though Storare slightly disowns this film in an interview, it seems that he is at least somewhat proud of what he was able to contribute to the form.