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Dario Argento (1940 - )
Lifespan: 1940 -
Related: giallo films - Asia Argento (daughter) - Italian horror - director
Films: The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)
Video and DVD cover scans of films by Argento
Dario Argento is a famous Italian director who began his career as a film critic. He has concentrated almost exclusively on the 'giallo' (Italian for 'yellow'), a genre named for the yellow coloured paperback novels, which followed the suspense tradition of hardboiled American detective fiction while incorporating baroque scenes of violence and excess. While Mario Bava is credited with inventing the 'giallo' film, Argento's obsession with developing the genre has earned him widespread recognition as an 'auteur' director.
His works always include a profusion of allusions (both obscure and obvious) to other films, literature ranging from the Greek classics to current popular novels, politics, film/literary theory, as well as his own films. Argento's dense network of allusions, combined with his notorious negligence of plot, his bizarrely detailed mise-en-scenes, his obsession with gore-filled death scenes, and his unpredictable and roaming camera angles, has proven particularly resistant to critical interpretation. Little 'serious' academic work on Argento has been published; the two most notable publications on Argento is Maitland McDonagh's auteur study, "Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento", and a collection of poster art and critical essays, edited by Chris Gallant and entitled "Art of Darkness". While critical work on Argento is unfortunately limited (and often out of print), he has acquired a cult fan base in Italy and the rest of the world; film reviews and interviews are regular subjects of interest in fanzines and internet discussion groups. One significant factor in Argento's lack of recognition in the United States is the generic boundaries which do not recognize the 'giallo' form -- his films are often marketed as "slasher trash" or simply "horror", only occasionally making the art house or college cinema circuits.
Argento's major influences include Bava, Leone, Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Federico Fellini.
His daughter is Asia Argento. --http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dario_Argento
Suspiria (1977) - Dario Argento
- Suspiria (1977) - Dario Argento [Amazon US]
Outside of devoted cult audiences, many Americans have yet to discover the extremely stylish, relentlessly terrifying Italian horror genre, or the films of its talented virtuoso, Dario Argento. Suspiria, part one of a still-uncompleted trilogy (the luminously empty Inferno was the second), is considered his masterpiece by Argento devotees but also doubles as a perfect starting point for those unfamiliar with the director or his genre. The convoluted plot follows an American dancer (Jessica Harper) from her arrival at a European ballet school to her discovery that it's actually a witches coven; but, really, don't worry about that too much. Argento makes narrative subservient to technique, preferring instead to assault the senses and nervous system with mood, atmosphere, illusory gore, garish set production, a menacing camera, and perhaps the creepiest score ever created for a movie. It's essentially a series of effectively unsettling set pieces--a raging storm that Harper should have taken for an omen, and a blind man attacked by his own dog are just two examples--strung together on a skeleton structure. But once you've seen it, you'll never forget it. --Dave McCoy, Amazon.com
Il Gatto a nove code/ Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) - Dario Argento
Il Gatto a nove code/ Cat o' Nine Tails (1971) - Dario Argento [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
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