Monday, 9 July 2007

Trilogies, trios, triptychs and triads

Commentators on Argento often seem to like to identify trilogies of films: besides the official Three Mothers trilogy and the widely accepted Animal Trilogy we have John Martin's Dante -inspired triad of Deep Red, Inferno and Phenomena and Colette Balmain's Diva Trilogy of Opera, Trauma and The Stendhal Syndrome.

Could we also suggest the trio of Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Le cinque giornate and Deep Red as films 'about' Argento and his respective partners at the time of each – if his relationship with Marilu Tolo didn't last that long, perhaps the representation of the character she plays in the film says something as to why – and, more seriously / less pop-psychological auteurist interpretation time, the Turin Trilogy of Sleepless, The Card Player and Do You Like Hitchcock? as gialli infused with the distinctive atmospheres of that place (note the prominence afforded the gargoyles in Do You Like Hitchcock?)

4 comments:

Don said...

I've always thought there was a connection between "Tenebre" and "Opera." Both films have characters that, on the surface, appear to be autobiographical (Peter Neal and Marco, the director, respectively), but, Argento uses this assumption to play with the audience's expectations. Of course, two films does not make a triptych...

K H Brown said...

Very much so - I think Opera also plays on the expectations established by Tenebre in that we're no longer sure what to make of the Marco character, whether we can trust him as the Argento stand-in. But I suppose for this very reason I find it a bit more conventional than Tenebre.

Another thing linking the films could be that they are the relatively conventional gialli made on the back of more experimental, less critically successful films - Inferno and Phenomena.

Whiggles said...

How about an "English-speaking artist in Rome" trilogy, comprising The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red and Tenebre? A bit of a mouthful, but I could see them as a loose trilogy of sorts.

By the way, The Card Player was shot in Rome, not Turin, so perhaps a better fit for your "Turin trilogy" would be Deep Red (set in Rome but shot in Turin)?

K H Brown said...

There goes the Turin idea then, though Argento's penchant for using cities as stand-ins for one another does confuse things - and me...

I like the Bird / Deep Red / Tenebre grouping. Besides the similarities in protagonist, I find they're also similar in being reflexive, state(ments)-of-the-art (of the) giallo circa 1972, 75 and 82, with the first two using the what did I really see motif from The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Bird and Tenebre also doing things with the theme of reading / writing / rewriting that also seems, at least to me, to largely stem from there.