The Perfume of the Lady in Black aka Il Profumo della signora in nero.
Admittedly a very hard to find forgotten Italian film, this may very well rank among the weirdest movies Europe has produced. I went into this one expecting a giallo, but instead of black gloved killers and endless red herrings I got psychological horror in the vein of Roman Polanski's Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. Although it does have affinities with the giallo genre. A psychologically scarred heroine with a tormented childhood, very good photography with bright colours, smooth camera-work and subtle frames that most of the time work on two levels.
The story revolves around Silvia (played by non other than Mimsi Farmer), an industrial scientist, with a troubled childhood who gradually loses her grip and starts having visions of a little girl, relives traumatizing events of the past in broad daylight, and soon begins to off those close to her. The gore factor is downplayed, the murders are few and far between but they are effective. The movie kind of drags at first, and there are several sequences that seem uneventful and do nothing to push the plot forward, while those other sequences that do help the plot evolve are most of the time baffling. It's like pieces of a puzzle that don't fit together. All the end does is show you, they belong to the same puzzle (if that makes any sense). The borders between reality and fantasy blur in a David Lynch-esquire way. It wouldn't surprise me if Lynch drew inspiration from this forgotten piece of Italian celluloid for his Mullholand Dr. All in all, I'd say that if you can keep your attention focused for the duration and pick up on the little hints and details that appear frequently, you'll find this a rewarding experience.
Up until the ending this was a 5/10 for me, but the ending alone kicked it up another notch. Satisfying but not a handed down solution to the puzzle, again in a Lynch-esquire way. It's open for interpretation instead of spelling everything out for the viewer. That's a quality I love in films.
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