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Pier Paolo Capponi,
When it comes to rare cult gems, The Perfume of the Lady in Black is a finely cut diamond! Many rare Italian films have received wide releases recently, meaning that it's a tragedy that this film hasn't. While this film isn't the best to come from Italy, it's certainly well worth seeing for fans of the Italian thriller, and its cult value is immense! The film is often mistaken for a Giallo; but this seems to be more because of the fact that it's from the Giallo homeland than any affiliation with the sub-genre. The Perfume of the Lady in Black is more of a psychological thriller, although it does benefit from a colour scheme typical of Italy's most famous cult films. The plot follows the story of Silvia Hacherman. We see her in a photograph over the title sequence, and it quickly becomes apparent that all is not right with her and her family. The film starts years later; Silvia is grown up and her parents are dead. However, their memory is not, and the beautiful young woman finds herself haunted by their memory.
Carrying on with the diamond idea...this film is absolutely stunning to look at! The vibrant colour scheme (which mainly consists of yellow) ensures this and every scene is beautifully photographed by director Francesco Barilli. Barilli directs the film with care, and every vista is dripping with a double meaning bubbling below the surface. Mimsy Farmer (who has worked with Italian legends Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci) takes the lead role, and only adds to the aesthetic value. This beautiful actress is a delight to look at, and her image always suits the film. The plot is character based, and the plot points are few. Because of this, several points will be lost on the casual viewer, and The Perfume of the Lady in Black is a film that needs to be viewed carefully in order for it to be fully appreciated. The film benefits from a foreboding atmosphere, which is perfectly backed up by the music score; and the way that it climaxes in bloody and brutal fashion brilliantly offsets the pace of what has gone before. The Perfume of the Lady in Black is not an easy film to track down; but if you get the chance to see it, I definitely recommend taking it!
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