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Renowned painter Leonardo Ferri, whose works have a standard price set by the market, and his girlfriend Flavia live together in his studio in Milan. He has not completed any paintings in two months as he slowly goes mad. His mental issues, about which Flavia is aware, includes a recurring dream where she is torturing him before attempting to kill him. As such, Flavia makes arrangements for them to rent a country villa outside of Venice where the change in scenery may recharge his creative juices. Because she can feel negative energy toward her at the villa, Flavia decides to spend her weekdays in Milan, visiting on the weekends, leaving Leonardo alone at the villa during week with only the housekeeper, Egle. Still haunted by his mental problems, Leonardo tries but is unable to restart his work. During this time alone, he learns of Vanda Valier, a previous occupant of the villa who was killed outside the villa walls during the war at age fifteen. Many of the locals still have their own stories of Vanda, some who still seem obsessed with her and her timeless beauty. Leonardo becomes one of those obsessed. In his mental state, Leonardo will have to reconcile hie obsession with Vanda with his relationship with Flavia, especially as many believe Vanda's ghost still controls what happens at the villa. —Huggo
Interesting but uneven story
"A Quiet Place in the Country (1969) is about an Italian painter who rents a villa that is haunted by the spirit of a young woman killed during WWII. Essentially, that is about it, as far as a plot for this film. Franco Nero plays the stereotypical image of a temperamental artist; arrogant and dismissive of others, his character is not exactly what one would call warm. The first part of the film is somewhat dull. Nero is shacked up with his lover (Vanessa Redgrave) who encourages his painting, although her motives seem to be more financial, his for the artistry. For whatever reason, he becomes obsessed with a run-down Italian villa and moves there. Nero is plagued by dreams about a young girl who lived in the village and was promiscuous with some of the males who still reside there. The film becomes more interesting as Nero tries to unravel the mystery of how the young woman died, who she was involved with -- and it begins to drive him into total madness. I won't give away the very bizarre ending, and I am not sure I could explain it myself! One positive here is the creepy atmosphere the director manages to set -- one can almost feel the spirit of the young woman throughout the villa. There are some very fascinating visuals throughout. All of that said, the plot is at times quite disjointed, full of holes and unanswered questions. Nero is fascinating to watch, and I confess I knew little of him as an actor. Vanessa Redgrave, always one of my favorites, is given little to do here. Her devotion to Nero's character seems to border on the pathological at times, and we get slight glimpses into their bizarre and -- I think -- unhealthy relationship. This is definitely not a film for everyone, but I found it interesting, despite its flaws.
- Nov 3, 2010
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