Thursday, 12 July 2007

Today's question

Are there any examples of Dario Argento's film criticism from the 1960s readily available, whether in Italian or English? I'm not talking so much about paraphrases or references, as with reading in Christopher Frayling about how he liked A Fistful of Dollars or elsewhere about his liking for Bava and Freda and questions over Blow-Up, more whether there's an unexpurgated piece or three, sort of like some of the early pieces in Tom Milne's Godard on Godard or The Early Film Criticism of Francois Truffaut collection; the kind of thing that would hopefully give an idea of his position at that time.

The reason I ask is that I'm intrigued to know how an Italian critic pursuing a post-Cahiers kind of line - always assuming that's what it was, of course; I may be wrong - could work when the national cinema of the previous generation(s) was not a Cinema du papa that relatively few were prepared to defend, but the revered neo-realists and their successors.

Where did these critics find their opposition - the easy target of the fascist-era telefono bianco types? Or was it possible to pursue a neutral course, going on a film-by-film and directory-by-director basis, that there are fundamentally two sorts of cinema - the good and the bad? Freda, after all, seems at times to have situated himself in opposition to neo-realism and out and out fantasy; while we all know about the giallo as the telefono rosso film...

4 comments:

Cinebeats said...

I did a little research about this topic myself a few months ago when I was writing about Fulci in my own blog. I'd love to read Fulci's film criticism as well as Argentos' but I haven't been able to find any English resources for it. Some of it may have been printed in Italian, but I'm afraid that I couldn't find any information about that either. If you do find some resources for it i would love to know about them.

Some smart editor should compile all the film writing of horror auteurs like Fulci and Argento into a book. I would love to read something like that.

Whiggles said...

I believe Alan Jones found himself up against a brick wall when searching for examples of Argento's film criticism to include in his book Profondo Argento. He did, however, manage to get a hold of Argento's opinions on Bram Stoker's Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola, which may serve as some indication of Argento's style of criticism:

"I hated it. It was terrible. The reason why it wasn't any good was because director Francis Ford Coppola was sick, depressed and hooked on the drug Lithium when he made it. That's what the movie was really about and why it was so awful. It was just his drug-addled fever dream. Who's interested in that? I'm not."

(Says the man responsible for Inferno, of course.)

K H Brown said...

Thanks for the input - I wasn't sure if Alan Jones had just commented to the effect that it was difficult to find examples of Argento's critism or was basing this on his own experience.

Argento's remarks on Bram Stoker's Dracula seem pretty much what I'd expect, as not too measured, heart ruling the head, and vaguely Cahiers / Truffaut type controversy-courting.

Frank Lafond said...

In fact, a collection of Argento's writings on cinema has been edited by Stefano Della Casa and published in Italian under the title DARIO ARGENTO, IL BRIVIDO DELLA CRITICA (2000)!