Director: Luciano Onetti
Cast: Luis Emilio Rodriguez, Gustavo Dalessanro, Raul Gederlini
Production Company: Guante Negro Films
Runtime: 77 minutes
Most serious horror fans know and love Giallo films, which are stylized crime fiction thrillers that emerged out of Italy in the 1970s. Francesca (2015) is a loving tribute to the genre, that successfully recreates the mood and look of these classic films.
In Francesca, two police detectives are investigating a series of murders that are tied to Dante’s Divine Comedy. The key to the case seems to be a missing young girl, who disappeared more than 15 years before the current murder spree.
Like most giallo films, the killer’s real identity is kept secret until the end of the film. There are definitely a few surprises in store for you in the final moments of the movie! Things aren’t spelled out for you like many American films. Be ready to think about what happened…
The film closely follows the tropes and themes of the genre, and is in fact a new addition to this fine tradition of filmmaking. Francesca is not really a neo-giallo like Amer (2009), or even Giallo (2009). It is firmly set in the original style, and great lengths were taken to make it look authentic to the era.
The progressive rock score by director Luciano Onetti is one of the main reasons the film works so well as a period piece. The choice of vibrant colours and strong visual imagery helps too. If you didn’t know you were watching a modern movie, you’d probably just assume it was actually filmed in the 1970s.
Onetti is clearly an astute student of giallo films, and includes many details that help to faithfully recreate the brand. The film references creepy children, a Giallo Mondadori pulp novel, a killer with gloved hands, and even the genre’s love for JD Whiskey.
The movie is very sparse on dialogue, and focuses more on eerie moments, and hauntingly poetic images. It is very experimental and artsy in its presentation. There are a lot of extreme close-ups, and odd moments that feel very dreamy.
This is Onetti’s second film in a planned giallo trilogy. His first film, Sonno Profondo or Deep Sleep (2013) was even more experimetal in nature, and told the story from the killer’s point of view. Here’s to Onetti making the move from devoted student to modern master of the genre.
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…