Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bringing something subtle to the table

How can you get away with using a chainsaw in a Giallo so it does not feel gross?
First, if you are Duccio Tessari, who knows how to make beautiful images, it helps. Then, you can set your film in Portofino, a rather eye-pleasing scenery.
This is the case for "L'uomo senza memoria" (Puzzle, 1974), which I previously talked about.

But the secret weapon is having your score composed by Gianni Ferrio, one of the most elegant film music composers of the golden years of Italian genre cinema.

From the very first seconds of the film, you cannot help being transported by the opening piece, "Labyrinthus", sung by Rosella. Ferrio's trademark, exquisite and crafted melodies, is once again performing magic to get you in the movie as we see shots of London streets, where the story starts.

Let me insist on this: in this film, it is the music which leads the film and sets the theme and the mood. "Labyrinthus" could have been the movie title, as it perfectly encapsulates what this giallo is about. The intricacies of memory and how a man struck with amnesia is faced with snapshots of his dark past life.
How this past is actually reconstructed step by step through both the reactions of people around him and the images and feelings these reactions trigger in his failing memory.

A man lost in the labyrinth of his mind, hesitating, in doubt, anxious, and one guide only throughout the film: the music, which literally works as the backbone of the story and holds the pieces of the puzzle together.

Until the end where, all of a sudden, we are ourselves in doubt: is that man without a memory a victim, or could he be a great manipulator?
Just the shadow of a doubt.

Not only is "L'uomo senza memoria" a very good giallo, but its score by Gianni Ferrio is one of the best in class and Digitmovies have just released it. Listen to it and buy it here.
More on the film from this blog there.


cinebeats said...

Chainsaws in giallo are very rare. One of my favorite giallo films (My Dear Killer aka Mio caro assassino) also uses a saw as well to good effect I think.

I really wish more of Duccio Tessari's films would get released on DVD. I've never seen L'uomo senza memoria, but it sounds terrific and I really enjoyed his other giallo The Bloodstained Butterfly because it was just so different and it starred Helmut Berger who I happen to adore.

Anonymous said...

really enjoyed puzzle, lovely music as well

Anonymous said...

A key part of the image from PUZZLE that you posted is that the chainsaw sits on a table layed out with the classic Italian meal: bread, pasta, red sauce, and red wine.

I was impressed with PUZZLE as well. Keep up the great blogging.

silvia said...

really enjoyed puzzle me too, lovely music as well and especially portofino