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The restorer Stefano is hired by the Mayor Solmi of a small village nearby Ferrara to restore a painting of St. Sebastian, made by the mentally disturbed painter Buono Legnani in the local church. Stefano was recommended by his friend, Dr. Antonio Mazza, and he learns that Legnani was known as "The Painter of the Agony", since he used to paint near-death people. Further, he was presumed dead many years ago but his body has never been found. Stefano works in the church, where he meets the weirdo Lidio, and he has one night stand with the local nymphomaniac teacher that is leaving the village. Meanwhile Antonio investigates the life of Buono Legnani and tells Stefano that he had found a dark secret about the painter and the villagers. However, Antonio dies before meeting Stefano and the police conclude that he committed suicide. Stefano is intrigued by the mystery surrounds Legnani and decides to investigate more about the deranged painter. However, he in evicted of his hotel room and ... Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
'No nudity and very little gore, and consequently, no suspense'. Quite apart from not knowing how commas work, the previous reviewer also appears to have been off sick from Idiot Film School the day they covered 'Suspense'.
This is a curiosity, sure, and won't be to everyone's taste, but I wouldn't dismiss it as a potboiler because it doesn't reach the dizzy artistic heights of Nightmare on Elm Street IV. The film effectively builds up a sense of dread through the central character's isolation and growing unease in a bleak village surrounded by featureless salt marshes. The supporting cast are thoroughly creepy from the garrulous dwarf mayor through to the pale beauty who mysteriously hooks up with the hero but who seems to know more than she is letting on. There are some touches of unsettling imagery that evoke David Lynch; the snails in the fridge, the blood red car and motorcycle and the house of the laughing windows itself. The camera-work adds to the whole, peering from darkened rooms and from behind creaking shutters - there is rarely a moment when you feel the hero is safe.
Sharing some of the mood of Don't Look Now (as indicated by Barry Norman below), the film also bears comparison with The Wicker Man, dealing with the same theme of an innocent slowly discovering the horrifying secrets of a community consumed by evil.
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