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La sindrome di Stendhal (1996)

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A young policewoman slowly goes insane while tracking down an elusive serial rapist/killer through Italy when she herself becomes a victim of the brutal man's obsession.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marco Longhi
Insp. Manetti
Dr. Cavanna
Julien Lambroschini ...
John Quentin ...
Anna's father
Franco Diogene ...
Victim's husband
Lucia Stara ...
Shop assistant
Sonia Topazio ...
Victim in Florence
Lorenzo Crespi ...
Vera Gemma ...
John Pedeferri ...
Hydraulic engineer
Veronica Lazar ...
Marie's mother
Mario Diano ...


Anna Manni is a policewoman trying to capture a vicious serial rapist and killer. The problem is that she suffers from "Stendhal's syndrome", a psychosomatic disease that gives her dizziness and hallucinations when she is exposed to the sight of paintings and artistic masterpieces. When the maniac lures her into a trap inside Florence's famous Uffizi museum, her troubles are just beginning... Written by Giancarlo Cairella <vertigo@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

26 January 1996 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Stendhal's Syndrome  »

Box Office


$3,800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


There was an intended sequel to 'The Stendhal Syndrome' titled 'In The Dark' where the character of Anna Manni returns. But the idea was abandoned and turned into 'The Card Player' later on. See more »


Though featuring prominently during the film's opening sequence set at the Uffizi in Florecne, Peter Bruegel's 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus' is actually housed at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. See more »


Referenced in Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship & Videotape (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Psychological 90s Argento
24 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

Dario Argento is one of my all-time favorite directors, and probably THE living director I admire the most. The 1990s were a weak decade for Horror in general, and also Argento's weakest. Argento is a cinematic genius, however, and while 90s achievements get nowhere near the brilliance of his masterpieces from the 70s and 80s, films like "Trauma" (1993) or this "Stendhal Syndrome" are nonetheless more than decent Thrillers that outshine the majority of 90s Horror outings.

"La Sindrome Di Stendhal" aka "The Stendhal Syndrome", which was made in-between "Trauma" and the disappointing "Il Fantasma Dell'Opera" (1998), is certainly one of his lesser films, but definitely a more than decent, very suspenseful, atmospheric and often quite weird psychological Horror effort that his fans cannot afford to miss. I like it about equally as I do "Trauma", with a slight preference for "The Stendhal Syndrome" due to the brilliant score by Ennio Morricone. What I found a bit strange is that the film is often labeled as a Giallo, when it is not really. There are no stylishly bloody murders from the killer's perspective, and really what makes the term "Giallo" quite out of place is the fact that the killer's identity is not really a mystery. The suspense is there, however, and most true Horror fans will agree that Argento is the absolute master of suspense. While the film is not quite as exceptionally gory as many other Argento flicks, it is definitely violent, especially the several rape-scenes (one of them taking place quite in the beginning) are more than a bit brutal.

Argento reportedly first wanted to get Bridget Fonda and Jenifer Jason Leigh for the leading role in the film, but his beautiful daughter Asia Argento is, as far as I am considered, the perfect cast for the role. She may look a little too young for an experienced female homicide detective, but she fits the character of her role perfectly, and, as far as I am considered, that is most important. Asia plays detective Anna Manni, a Rome investigator specialized on sex crimes, who is trying to track down a serial rapist and murderer... I do not want to give any more of the plot away. The rest of the performances are also quite good, especially the German actor Thomas Kretschmann delivers a good performance, but Asia Argento sure is the highlight. The film is quite different to Argento's other films, but certainly not bad. None other than the great Ennio Morricone delivers a brilliant and immensely eerie score that intensifies the creepy atmosphere, and, as it is always the case with Argento's films, the film is visually stunning and highly suspenseful.

Dario Argento's masterpieces are his films from the 70s and 80s, and he returned to old greatness in 2001, with the ultra-violent and greatly old-fashioned Neo-Giallo "Non Ho Sonno" (aka. "Sleepless"), which was made in brilliant Argento-tradition. His 90s outings are certainly a bit inferior to the rest of his brilliant repertoire, but they are nonetheless way above average. While it is one of lesser films, "The Stendhal Sydrome" is nevertheless a suspenseful, atmospheric and highly recommendable film with some downright ingenious elements that Horror lovers should definitely not miss. Highly recommended!

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