L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970, Dario Argento) Courtesy of Archiv Harald Dolezal

Italy's Modernist Thrill

August 30 to October 24, 2019

When it comes to manifestations of film genre, the Italian giallo is almost as iconic as film noir. The enormously influential wave of giallo crime films made in Italy in the 1960s and 1970s occupied a crossroads of pop culture where art and exploitation cinema overlapped. The revolutionary modernist traits of contemporary cinema were smuggled into mainstream productions and B-movies whose audacious hybrid forms, vacillating between psychological thriller and horror, fantasy and erotic film, give the impression of a thrilling house of mirrors reflecting the entire era. On the whole, giallo resembles a delirious mapping of the unplumbed depths of the collective unconscious combined with a fearless look at the raw base of society. The aesthetic innovations of gialli all'italiana are above all associated with great stylists such as Dario Argento and Mario Bava, who provided the subgenre with its most famous examples of proverbial color-intoxicated extravaganzas and cinéma pur nightmare/dream images. This very first comprehensive giallo retrospective brings the genre's salient examples together with classics and rarities, bloodcurdlers and art works – including grossly neglected early films by luminaries such as Pietro Germi and Riccardo Freda. (Christoph Huber)

In cooperation with /slash Filmfestival

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