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Francesca - Unearthed Films Print E-mail
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Written by Richard Taylor   
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
Review of Francesca from Unearthed Films on Severed Cinema


BUY FRANCESCA

Directed by: Luciano Onetti
Written by: Luciano Onetti, Nicolas Onetti
Produced by: Nicolas Onetti
Cinematography by: Luciano Onetti
Editing by: Luciano Onetti
Special Effects by:
Music by: Luciano Onetti
Cast: Luis Emilio Rodriquez, Gustavo Dalessanro, Raul Gederlini, Sillvina Grippaldi.
Year: 2015
Country: Argentina
Language: Italian (English Subtitles)
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 17min

Studio: Guante Negro Films
Distributor: Unearthed Films
 

Unearthed Films gets its hands on Francesca, this new, or "neo-giallo" as its being called. Coming out of Argentina in South America, from Luciano Onetti (Sonno Profondo), and looking like an authentic Italian Giallo from the ‘70s is a big undertaking, but I feel Onetti has nailed it perfectly in terms of atmosphere, camera work, visuals and style. Giallo films were definitely a genre I enjoyed in the hands of Dario Argento. The director has made some of the most memorable and popular entries. The true Giallo fanatic is no-doubt scoffing at my underwhelming knowledge of some of the more obscure Giallo entries, and I have to admit, I never sought out a lot of Gialli beyond Argento, and maybe a couple early Fulci entries like Don't Torture a Duckling or A Lizard In A Woman’s Skin. I remember a couple other entries like Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace or Antonio Bido's The Bloodstained Shadow, and Giuliano Carnimeo's The Case of the Bloody Iris.

Francesca is a lovely tribute, or new entry into the genre. All the elements of a true Giallo film are present in full form. The music, also done by Onetti, and especially that opening theme, gave me goosebumps, it was that good and authentic. I felt like I was thrown back into Argento's Deep Red, it was that moving. Onetti has outdone himself with the score and would make Goblin proud. The arrangements are jaw-dropping and one of my favorite parts of Francesca.

The shooting style of
Francesca is also my other favorite part of the film. That washed out Technicolor appearance that every scene seems to be filled with. That extreme high style of camera work where the skin of the actors looks so vibrant and it brings out those brighter colors, like the reds and pinks so brilliantly. The cinematography is another win for Francesca, it brings back that authentic ‘70s feeling and style which make it mistakable that it was made in 2015.

Francesca weaves a tale of a serial killer, wearing red gloves, placing coins on the victim’s eyes and using a creepy doll. The killer has all the Gialli traits. The killer stages the murders in different performing arts scenarios, with pianos and theaters, and leaves mysterious pieced together notes with excerpts from literature. During the intro of Francesca, we are also introduced to the cruel little girl with the title name who seems to have a perversion with stabbing and impaling things, including what seems to be a baby in a carriage -- her mother (Silvina Grippaldi) comes rushing in screaming bloody murder.

Inspector Bruno Moretti (Luis Emilio Rodriguez), and detective Benito Succo (Gustavo Dalessanro), are on the case trying to find the killer with a flair for the dramatics but are making very little leeway, until they discover a particular passage from a quote that the killer leaves behind. This gives them a bit of a lead but the killer is still striking again and again. Some of the focus in the story is also put on the parents of Francesca, the father Vittorio Visconti (Raul Gederlini), who is a known writer and paralyzed in a wheelchair and his wife Nina. With
Francesca, you definitely get that style over substance feeling as the story is not overly interesting and really lags in parts, becoming too long. It is nice to see it all come together at the conclusion. I think the wrap-up was somewhat satisfying, if not fully explained, but the emphasis on some of the characters and motives were sometimes unclear. Plus some of the more experimental scenes felt forced at times, especially the ones with those repetitive voice effects. I would have liked more gore effects as well. There is very little here, except for blood spatter. That is one thing I commend Argento for -- those lavish blood splashes that painted the screen like art in his films, such as that infamous scene of a girl getting her arm cut off by an axe in Tenebrae. In a Giallo, the killer always meets a terribly gruesome demise as well, but in Francesca, it’s a bit lackluster, although the conclusion is highly effective. Francesca does achieve great advertising for J&B scotch whiskey -- it seems to be the choice of beverage for most of the characters in the film.

Despite its shortcomings Francesca gets high points from me. What's good with it outweighs the bad and the fact that Onetti is making a Giallo film in 2015 is reason enough to praise his passion for a genre you don't hear much of anymore. Overall, Onetti has done the genre proud. I recommend
Francesca for a much needed injection of new Gialli to rush the floodgates.

 

 

 

 

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