Monday, October 28, 2013

"Le orme"(1975)d/Luigi Bazzoni

Four years removed from his first giallo, Giornata nera per l'ariete aka/ The Fifth Cord (1971), director Luigi Bazzoni serves up a visually interesting if not entirely engaging psychological thriller/mystery that lacks just about every identifying giallo characteristic; there's no black gloved killers, no beautiful model types being violently killed off with exotic weapons, and not much sci-fi to wrap your mind around here, either, despite the alternate "Footprints on the Moon" title. What there is, is some nice, atmospheric cinematography from Vittorio Storano, who also worked with Argento on L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo aka/ The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970), and a solid performance from lead actress, Florinda Balkan, with supporting appearances by Italian 70's ginger-kid extraordinaire, Nicoletta Elmi, and, of course, Klaus Kinski, misleadingly billed as a lead here.

"...all of this fucking cheese belongs to me now."
Alice (Balkan), a Portuguese translator,  has no recollection of the past three days and a recurring nightmare vision about astronauts bouncing about on the surface of the moon that she attributes to an old movie (with the same title as the one the audience is currently watching, mind you) that she must have missed the ending to. A discarded photograph of a hotel on the isle of Gama compels her to pay the holiday hot spot a visit in attempt to piece it all back together. To further complicate matters, several of the island's residents seem to already know her from the previous week, only as Nicole, a red head who sought refuge from some sort of imminent danger there, despite having no memories of ever having been there, at least, as Alice, anyway...

"...e il mio capelli rossi fastidioso per voi?" asks Paola (Nicoletta Elmi).
More sleepless nights filled with images of helpless men in space suits left behind on the moon (I dunno, that's gotta be pretty high on anybody's list of unsexy things that could happen to a person, huh? Still, you can't hear the Dave Matthews Band from space, so that's a plus...) and an abrasive scientist named Blackman (Kinski), who briefly bickers with some off-screen colleagues about his mind control experiments, the results of which have stranded some poor bastard on the moon's surface, to test his mental resolve. The bad karma finds it's way into Alice's dreams from space, and thus, aligns her as the logical choice to be Blackman's next lunar guinea pig. In the end, we see her being dragged off, screaming, by astronauts, no less...

Dicono che alle mie palpebre, Klaus.
Bazzoni would only direct a series of documentaries on Rome during the nineties, never returning to feature films, which leaves the genre fan to much speculation on where he could have gone with the medium, had he chosen to continue. Sadly, he passed away in 2012. As for Footprints, it's a little too long-winded for me to recommend to anyone but hardcore Kinski completists and fanatics of visual style, though it remains ambitious enough an effort to avoid being totally boring, and for that, it earns a single Wop score. I prefer Fifth Cord, as space isn't really my bag, maaaaan.

Smettere di resistere...Pianeta Earth è blu, non c'è niente che puoi fare.

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