Deep Red (Retrospective) – Italian horror maestro, Dario Argento, made a string of giallo and supernatural horror masterpieces in the 70’s and early 80’s. While Suspiria (1977) remains his most famous film, commonly touted as one of the scariest films ever made, it is of my opinion that Deep Red (1975) is his greatest work. David Hemmings (Blowup) stars as Marcus Daly, a pianist and music teacher living in Rome, who investigates the shocking murder of a psychic medium, who lives in Daly’s apartment building. After his desperate attempt to save her fails, he becomes obsessed with finding the murderer. The killer strikes several times, eliminating people who have learned something about their identity, but as Daly digs deeper into the complex web of affairs, he uncovers a sinister secret inside a deserted old house. One feature I adore about this film is the wonderful score composed by prog rock band Goblin (who would become Argento’s primary collaborators, following a disagreement with Ennio Morricone on Four Flies On Grey Velvet). Though Suspiria’s main theme is more famous, perhaps, I don’t think Goblin ever again matched this work. Don’t miss this stunning film on the big screen. It may be the highlight of your MIFF2013 experience.
For Those in Peril – The debut feature from talented writer/director Paul Wright following a number of award-winning shorts, For Those in Peril is a visceral and complex psychological drama with an emotional intensity that continually keeps a viewer guessing. This is a fresh vision from a bold filmmaker who has an interest in telling his stories and provoking his audience with inventive sensory experimentation. From the eerie opening to the unforgettable finale this is a mesmerizing tale pits sea folklore with the personal struggle of a youngster dealing with conflicting emotions of grief and guilt, and facing malevolence for being alive.
Frances Ha – Greta Gerwig delivers an infectiously warm and bubbly performance in Noah Baumbach’s New York-set dramedy about a charming hipster stumbling through a directionless mid-20’s life crisis. Always optimistic about her future and determined to continue to purse her modest artistic aspirations, Frances cannot seem to make anything else work. Barely scraping together enough funds to support her living expenses, and unlucky in her romantic pursuits, her series of misadventures are captured in pleasing black and white photography. Fueled by an energetic soundtrack, Gerwig’s klutzy and awkward pratfalls are a consistent source of humour, earning our sympathy in a way I found Lena Dunham’s Girls characters did not.
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