Would you like some tandem terror to accompany your Lavazza Italian Film Festival?
At the height of his powers throughout the 70s and 80s, Italian iconoclast Dario Argento delivered an oeuvre which has served as a reference point for horror aficionados ever since.
Following on from LOVE AND ANARCHY: THE FILMS OF LINA WERTMÜLLER, the Italian Maestros season at the NFSA (National Film & Sound Archive) brings us DARIO ARGENTO: HORROR MAESTRO from September 20 – October 4.
Born September 7, 1940, Argento is the son of Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Fascinated by stories from The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and Edgar Allen Poe, he has forged an almighty career weaving macabre fables all his own, stamping his authority on the horror genre in the process. Inspired by master story-tellers but influenced by family folk tales at a young age – especially darker bedtime stories apparently told to him by his aunt – Argento based much of his work around childhood trauma but insists his own upbringing was a normal one.
Penning a dozen films before he even got behind the camera, the origin of the Sergio Leone classic Once Upon A Time In the West (1968) was, in fact, an original story by Argento. His all-out penchant for story-telling eventually took hold and, two years later, Argento announced his arrival as an auteur. With his directorial debut The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970), he began his transformation into the riveting raconteur recognised today as a household name in horror.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of his cult classic Suspiria (1977), NFSA will be showcasing seven of Argento’s best, awash with the vivid colours and striking sounds for which he has become known. And blood. There will be blood.
-Wednesday 20 September, 7PM: The Bird with the Crystal Pumage (1970) – after witnessing an attack, a writer becomes the pawn in a serial killer’s deadly game.
-Friday 22 September, 6PM: Suspiria (1977) – Argento’s murderous magnum opus follows a newcomer’s dizzying and devastating journey into the dark heart of her new ballet school where grisly murder abounds. The original tagline of the film was: “The only thing more terrifying than the last 12 minutes of this film are the first 86”. Find out why in this grim and grandiose 4K restoration.
-Friday 22 September, 8PM: Inferno (1980) – in a sequel of sorts to Suspiria, a young man travels from Rome to New York to investigate the disappearance of his sister. Evil sisters and dark forces pervade her New York apartment as the Mother of Darkness emerges.
-Wednesday 27 September, 7PM: Tenebre (1982) – Argento’s return to the giallo horror subgenre. When in Rome, an American writer is terrorised by a serial killer exacting a vengeful vendetta on all those associated with his new book.
-Friday 29 September, 6PM: Phenomena (1985) – in a very early role, Jennifer Connelly plays a young girl whose supernatural gifts enable her to communicate with and control insects – a capability which proves useful in the nightmarish settings of her new Swiss boarding school.
-Friday 29 September, 8:30PM: Deep Red (1975) – expect lots of deep red in this Argento masterwork as the murder of a well-known psychic brings together a musician and a reporter in the search for a killer hellbent on preventing dark secrets from coming to light.
-Wednesday 4 October, 7PM: Opera (1987) – a young opera star is stalked by a deranged fan intent on claiming her for himself and dispatching anyone who stands in his way.
All films will screen in their original Italian with English subtitles. Presented in association with GOMA.
Tickets $15/$13 or Season Pass for all 7 films: $65/$55
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