Sunday, August 27, 2006

THE RETURN OF THE 5 BEST NON-ARGENTO/BAVA GIALLI!





Women drivers - DEATH LAID AN EGG

NUMERO TRES : EQUALIZIO: DEATH LAID AN EGG and THE FIFTH CHORD


Run to the Vatican coz its back...!

My next two 'Best non-Argento/Bava' gialli, while don't really figure so much in the story/plot or boobs/blades and blood department, definitely do so in terms of there succinct visual style and to a large extent weirdness. The first is DEATH LAID AN EGG. Yep its premise is very fucken STRANGE to begin with, coz literally, it’s about eggs and death. There's this guy called Marco, played by IL GRANDE SILENSIO' Jean-Louis Tringitgnant. who owns a hi-tech poultry farm and is married to Gina Lollabrigida and has a hot sorta blonde secretary that he wants to fuck, and you sorta know the rest. But if sexual infidelities and murder are the basic templates, it’s the mind-fucked visual cut-up style that raises this film above the sum of its parts. Giulo Questi, who directed the great and very violent-and-off-its-head Spag-Western DJANGO KILL, IF YOU LIVE..SHOOT! tries his hand at the giallo genre (as did nearly every other director from Italy in the late 60s early 70s) and does a pretty diffracted, but no less interesting job. For one the premise involving a high-tech Poultry Farm is pretty weird, especially when you have some loopy subplot involving mutated chickens. But then you have this completely LSD flash-backed visual style with erratic jump shots and a completely acid-fried title sequence that makes everything feel a bit nisht. And the soundtrack. Well think of all that weird musique concrete stuff from the 60s that all theses sonic mathematicians were doing in European Universities, and yr pretty much there, in fact this whole film feels kinda musique concrete for that matter.. The visual colour scheme uses lots of yellow, keeping with the genre and maybe due to the fact that there's chicken and eggs and whatever in there somewhere. In many ways this film comes off like one of those late-60s acid-fucked Godard movies like WEEKEND or 2 or 3 THING I KNOW ABOUT HER but using the giallo framework, there's also lots of weird architecture and sexual violence like some sort J.G BALLARD novel, and Gina Lollabrigida shows some booty just to keep things nice and orderly.

Spinning out with the FIFTH CORD


Italo-cult legend Franco Nero stars in the FIFTH CORD as a shicker journo who becomes a suspect in a murder, done by some guy chopping off fingers of a glove that he leaves next to his victims (turns out he’s an Australian from Sydney). The film borrows heaps from BAVA's gialli like BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, and for most of it, is a bit of a snore-fest, but like EGG the film is redeemed by its visuals. In this case, the film was shot by uber-Italian-legend-cinematographer VITORIO STORARRO. Now I have a friend who is some-sort of cinematographer and he like many other people of this talent, swear by the work of STORARO. Some of his work includes film like APOCALYPSE NOW, ISHTAR, THE LAST EMPEROR, THE CONFORMIST, the mod-giallo THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and *ahem* THE LAST TANGO IN PARIS. THE FIFTH CORD was one of Storarro's early efforts, and what an effort. In fact I think this is one of the first films I've ever seen where the cinematography is more interesting than the film itself. Storraro's sugar-shit-sharp lensing gives the film a cold-clinical look, and his usage of muted colours gives the film a relentless atmosphere, despite the fact that not much is really going on. In many ways this film works like an Antionioni-giallo (innaresting as Ant-o refers to LA'AVENTURA as a giallo in reverse!) with it's nice usage of space and architecture to create a cold environment and atmosphere of emotional dislocation. The Blue Underground DVD has been remastered off High-Def or something, so everything looks super-duper clear. The film is nowhere near as kinky or shocking as the liner notes say, but yeah, the cinematography is STUNNING, and probably the best seen on any gialli this side of an Argento one. But that’s the whole point of this list, ‘aint it?
Looks like the cover artwork of some band from THE WIRE magazine

2 comments:

Meddle said...

I can’t say that I was as impressed as much as you were with Death Laid an Egg. I usually prefer whacked out and sleazy giallos too the more conventional ones. I did however thoroughly enjoy The Fifth Cord.

Duncan said...

Funny as hell! I'm laughing my ass off!