This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
claire 🗡️💀🕷️ diane’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
distillate of heavy metals. bleached & flattened of color. an old stone staircase worn both from long use and long service in dreams as you ascend/descend again and again and again.
they cannot be degraded or destroyed.
they cannot be degraded or destroyed.
"I think it's unwise to use movies as a guide to reality, don't you Inspector?"
"Depends on what you mean by reality."
a movie about a horror movie director making an opera made by a horror movie director making an Opera in which the Daughter rejects her Mother's appetite for causing pain.
the inexorable orbit of CAN'T LOOK AWAY.
"I just wanted to forget, to cancel it from my mind. Not see anything, not feel anything, not think anything. I just wanted to get away."
repudiation of an inherited curse
trauma and maybe giallo/genre as trauma, for Argento a constant rupture of sight & confusion of mind, a constant putting back together what has been broken. if Tenebre was the apcoalypse of masculine desire as violence & Phenomena the rising of girlhood to grow as flowers in that apocalyptic waste, then perhaps Opera is lingering bad dreams, a slurry caught in the knife gate: the shriveled husks of his gialli, burnt into charred figurines. Opera is a revisiting. like this is a dream cauldron for all of his former gialli. an adaptation to the genre of Opera. like them and unlike them totally. an uncanny follower and duplicate.
frigidity. a woman escaping the lingering shadow of the Monstrous Feminine (her Mother) and the Phantom (her victim returned) at the same time. an ice blasted escape from the whole damned thing.
men are directing Betty to break apart what they see as ice with warm red blood. boyfriend pressuring her; the killer molesting her; the director saying it has to be soon.
but (fake) blood turns cold so quickly in the chilled air.
(fake) blood turns thick and dry.
the movie must be INFLICTED.
because the sadist is DEPENDENT on what we do.
he needs us to watch.
a ravenous weakling,
who cannot stand on his own.
a woman who doesn't need them. queen of insects. Jennifer Connelly Speed Metal Superheroes.
the Curse is her mother's transmitted dreams: her sadism is an Inversion of Power not a Repudiation. her Mother took the Power to Inflict pain. Flipped the Hierarchy. a half-revolution, but still bound to the cycle. dominance is still dominance and self-consuming. (the Monstrous Feminine?)
Betty breaks the Circle, Repudiates Power, predicated on so many breakings & contentions, Flashes of Struggle for Dominance. she rejects even taking her part as a rejection of competition.
asexual rejection of heteronormativity. the Black Gloves & the Phantom were always a Disruption in the service of Maintaining the Status Quo (and the killer is a POLICE OFFICER). if she rejects sexuality, she is a Disruption that Must Be Contained. For How Can She Be Bound Without Desire to Chain Her?
when men become intoxicated and can absorb even Medusa and the Harpy into the fold of hetero-order...
we have this vision again of
Queen of Insects, in a guard of Chitin: Jennifer Connelly, and her sister:
the Queen of Ice.
where metal is displaced by transparent domes of sky, flecked with cloud. streaked with cloud.
(or that's all they can see)
they don't understand how we are the wind & the sky and not warm bodies at all.
"You're a sadist, aren't you?"
Argento's obsession has always been with the EYE and with LOOKING and how looking connects to MEMORY and often how the connection is fractured and produces fractionally recallable memories that haunt with their brokenness.
and here it is almost like his sightline to own his own gialli is partially fractured as the movie becomes a meditation on Argento's own existence in Genre at all. like he can only dimly remember what it has all meant, but some dim vision from older days is always creeping up on him, which is why fragments seem to evoke former films, especially a funereal, slow motion death like in Four Flies & an obscured shot framed by curtains, like in Tenebre).
so he becomes the Sadist's Phantom Double, watching his own movies on a CRT monitor. a ghost stuck between the Phantom & the Final Girl & her Monstrous Mother. like if he were a sentient Organ of dreams, he was stuck & let off this vision in prismatic gas. and maybe he wonders...
what if women are looking away? what would Jennifer Connelly do? you might blow out Daria Nicolodi's eye with a police issued pistol, but a sea of Ravens will pluck it back.
the sight of Ravens draws straight lines, with a beginning and an end.
REVENGE. and then they fly away, leaving mock Odins, who lost sight for wisdom.
all it takes to placate him is, "I did want it. I want you." so we know
POSSESSION is fragility.
the fade to black when Betty starts to litanize all the things she loves.
frees a lizard. loves but does not possess.
does it seem absurd to you?
look around you.
let it go & to you it shall return.
the cross has been inverted,
but you have to look to look AWAY.
snap the tether, like cut rope, of
& new realities are slithering out of sight into the blackness of No Eye, like the lizard freed from a pinning branch.
but of course i'm going to put another movie on right now. and all the above rings only half true, feels like gilded & wishful thinking. i can't stop myself looking or watching more movies & i don't know why or what i'm looking for.
because when the frame goes black doesn't it all end? or are we left with Betty's final dreaming and a cold blankness both at once. our last connection to a new kind of image & being-in-Giallo. a new synaptic node:
i think this is the giallo that escapes itself. even though i am not a straight-lined Raven.
i think escape might be hidden in the final sightline, me and Betty and the Lizard, not at A or B, but whatever inscrutable thing happens in-between. that Image a catalyst from which goes beaming a thousand rays. and i am clutching at the rays. but as the image fades from the screen -- i cannot hold them.
the linger of curse.
Opera, a final recursion that
cannot be degraded or destroyed,
the giallo of no giallo:
close your eyes.