25 September 2015 | Alexander-Ross
A great intriguing novel directed by great Giulio Questi
I really enjoyed having the opportunity to watch this compelling TV mini series by the famous, dark, almost Gothic novel: it was over all an awesome, big budgeted production, elegantly designed, and, filmed, with stunning art direction, gorgeous period costumes, and, a truly lush widescreen cinematography, helped by a director like Giulio Questi, who's another one of those Italian directors of cult from the 1960's who's been finally re- discovered and awarded with the right respect for his always innovative, strongly skilled and heartfelt work, capable to shift from erotic thrillers, such as his cult gem from 1968 "Death Laid an Egg", extraordinary, above average, artistic 'Giallo'rr starring stars such as Gina Lollobrigida, Eva Awlin & Jean Louis Trintignant at their best, to some real noticeable spaghetti westerns, to art films, and series TV that always had enormous integrity and respect for his extremely handsome cinematic style. And, sadly, that's probably why, I have read often, he didn't get a more mainstream and prolific career! A bit like other extremely talented but authorial, first rate genre directors (Luigi Bazzoni also comes to mind!) he had a very hard time dealing with the producers of the time who apparently did not appreciate over all substantial (and not cheap to produce) film's quality, visual virtuoso's or elaborate and ground breaking, controversial story telling . I can only imagine how much effort he had to put into one major production like this one, made for international televisions, and cable, and, conceived for very mainstream prime time audiences. His enigmatic,mysterious, brooding tone is always enormously present, even here, though, thankfully adding a much thicker consistence to the re-telling of a story that could have been executed blandly, and, mostly conventionally. But, apparently, at the time, not many approved of his evident strenuous work, in order to create this much more daring, and, darker portrait than what was then expected, generally in this kind of high end European mini TV series.Only more sophisticated audiences were fond of such narration and direction, others found the final result too weird for their taste. Ultimately, this one, along with "Death Laid an Egg" especially, but other great movies, directed by Questi, as well, was much more vastly appreciated, and now, has reached a more established cult status. I believe, however, that Questi did a truly excellent job while keeping the narrative a little more linear than usual, and, instead, bringing more visual excellence, to the aesthetic of the images, and atmospheres, while outlining a number of excellent performances by a cast of well known actors, here all finding a more exclusive chance to show their talent, and, empower edgier than usual personalities, pushed obviously by the director, toward achieving a much more in depth, and, harrowing climax, enhancing their lovely faces with a surprisingly successful use of artsy angles, and, a beautiful use of an often almost Gothic lighting. Thrilling, and wildly provocative, this awesome rendition is highly recommended to all, but, especially, to those more "sensitive" to a certain stylish filmmaking more typical in art houses entertainment, or true cult movies. But, at the same time,I have to share one last thought: I personally found this cinematic adaptation of the famed novel as actually way more thrilling, and, twisted than usual, conveying an unexpected escalation of suspense, that for as always extremely passionate, and, romantically decadent, as it is, it made at the end for an intriguing and seductive view, bringing true enjoyment to the experience, and, not only matching, but, I would even say, placing itself, way above my more enthusiastic expectations.