Harry is a married writer who has an affair with a woman whose husband knows that she is unfaithful. As a result of his work, Harry has trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality ... See full summary »
In the bourgeois circles of Europe after the Great War, can anything save the modern man? Harry Haller, a solitary intellectual, has all his life feared his dual nature of being human and ... See full summary »
Max von Sydow,
Believe it or not, NIGHT OF THE FLOWERS was on my "Missed List" for 40 years. When films went into production circa late '60s/early '70s, I would list the various interesting-sounding European projects announced in Variety newspaper that were not imported to America or didn't make it all the way (on a timely basis) to my hometown of Cleveland, hoping to catch them later. I did eventually get to see almost all of these hundreds of elusive beasts (except for some very, very rare Scandinavian films or, for example Nelo Risi's A SEASON IN HELL and THE INFAMOUS COLUMN), and this Gian Vittorio Baldi opus has latterly proved to be a major disappointment.
Baldi's work has never been imported to America, so he is completely unknown. I see a positive Italian review on IMDb of his next, anti-Fascist film "THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL...", so I'm still begrudgingly interested in his career.
But FLOWERS is atrocious. It also answers the non-burning question of "where did BABA YAGA director Corrado Farina get his start?". He's the a.d. on this travesty, learning all the wrong things (pretentious ones) about filmmaking en route to a flop career of his own.
With irritating Silent Era inter-titles to tell us dumb viewers a thing or two (or rather, to mislead us), FLOWERS unfolds in two incompatible parts. The first segment is in English, with Macha Meril and Jurgen Drews as American hippies, guitar in hand, in a very '60s "everything is everything" ode to soft-focus, fake romanticism and other dated, unwatchable themes concerning the hoped-for birth of a new world and lifestyle. This is meant to contrast with the film proper.
Bulk of the footage is devoted to a nasty evening with Dominique Sanda, looking as lovely as one would expect from her heyday working at the time with Europe's best directors: Bresson, De Sica and Bertolucci. The format is tiresome, basically stolen from Giuseppe Patroni Griffi's highly influential ONE NIGHT AT DINNER, which boasted a far better all-star cast. I'm certain that European audiences noticed the complete ripoff.
Yes, it's fairly beautiful people embodied by Sanda, Hiram Keller and the obscure starlet Micaela Pignatelli (her only other leading role was in the horrible GREAT WHITE a decade later), plus the token gay blade portrayed by Giorgio Maulini, picking away at each other with bon mots, playing games of humiliation and sex-tease, and basically boring the viewer out of his or her gourd. It's so boring and the violence so meager that even the current generation of idiots writing comments on IMDb will be reluctant to throw this film into that misleading catch-all category of "gialli" (a completely phony revisionist construct devised in the '90s by some Brit twerps, the way French critics reconstructed late '40s American cinema christening every other movie a "film noir").
That this nonsense was considered experimental or cutting-edge at one time is embarrassing -it is the European analogy to late '60s U.S. sexploitation films, the sort preserved on DVD-Rs by Something Weird.
The eclectic soundtrack is by Giuseppe De Luca, a forgotten hack whose career started promisingly with top helmers Liliana Cavani and Mario Monicelli, but quickly descended to crypto-porn outings by directors ranging from Marcello Avallone and Nelo Risi to Mino Guerrini and Alberto De Martino.
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