Dario Argento

September 7th

Dario Argento, one of the best known and most important masters of cinematic thriller, has a birthday on this day.

Dario Argento has never been a spirit very loyal to the rules even if, of course, more on the level of artistic rules than on that of social behavior. Already in his period as a film critic for a Roman newspaper, Argento’s pen was sharp and full of inventiveness. The young Dario, therefore, takes little to understand that with the pen you can also live. He doesn’t lack imagination and so here he is embarking, first timidly then always with greater confidence, on the path of the screenwriter.

In 1969 he wrote and directed his first film, “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” (1970). The film, after an uncertain start, turns into one of the greatest successes of Italian production of that year. The success of the second film, “The cat o’ nine tails” (1970), confirmed the interest of the public, and established him as the author of Italian cinematographic suspense.

In 1971 he directed “Four Flies on Gray Velvet”, continuing a personal research into the cinematic language of fear, and developing new techniques capable of arousing strong emotional tension within his thrillers, initially commented on by Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks.

The main feature of these first films by the Roman director is that of substantially relying on reality data, i.e. without the excessive irruption of supernatural themes. The presence of death is perceptible and always imminent as an event that can break in at any moment. The spectator’s terror is expertly induced through a disturbing and expectant atmosphere. Later, however, Argento will make a real turning point in this regard, setting up in his films a whole sample of the supernatural of the best kind. Demons, witches and so on will appear, in an attempt to stage an ups and downs game with death understood as something opposed to the “reality” of life.

In 1975, with “Profondo Rosso” Argento made the film that still today many consider to be his most important and significant work: a synthesis of all those disturbing aspects researched and studied in the previous films, developed with the use of peculiar visual technologies in the cinematic writing of a style that will mark a point of no return for the representation of fear in the years to come. The mysterious and fantastic echoes whispered in “Profondo Rosso” burst into the irrational representation of the cursed fairy tale narrated with “Suspiria”, dated 1977. The images become paintings with unreal and demonic flashes as in the following “Inferno” (1980), to return with ” Tenebre” (1982) to a thriller whose connotations cancel each other out through a visual palimpsest that conceals the real, horror and fantasy beneath the surface, continuously disintegrating the representation of a verisimilitude always ready to rise, like a curtain, on the grin of the unknown .

A series of intense and engaging films, which above all have the ability to remain etched in the mind for years.

Of all Dario Argento’s films Suspiria is probably the one we could talk about the most, or maybe not, probably all the great director’s films have an endless story to tell.

There are many curiosities related to this film, starting with the fact that Argento wanted 12-year-old girls as the protagonists of his film, the production opposed the idea of ​​putting such young actresses in such a violent context and they chose little more what twenty. One of the solutions that he came up with to relieve the anxiety of a little girl’s difficulty in acting is to place the doorknobs higher than usual.

These are some of the more well-known details…

It was shot in four months.

The room that is filled with barbed wire in the film was actually filled with simple iron wire. However, Stefania Casini (protagonist of the scene) was not given particular instructions on how to access the room. Casini was therefore really entangled in the wire, causing herself various grazes.

Daria Nicolodi, Dario Argento’s girlfriend at the time, was also to have a part. But she then had an injury that prevented her from being a part of it.

Argento shot with a very low sensitivity film to enhance the primary colors (red, green, gold), emphasize the depth of field and render on the screen the same Technicolor effect made famous in The Wizard of Oz (1939).

The ending was inspired by a dream of Daria Nicolodi, in which she had seen an invisible witch and, even more singular, a panther in the room with her, which suddenly exploded. For this we see a porcelain panther blown up.

Just one tip, if you’ve never seen it watch it, if you have seen it, watch it again!

Dario Argento – Omnigraph Magazine