"Beautiful" and "stylish" are naturally two words that automatically come to mind when describing this odd, dreamy, haunting movie. It's definitely not the typical "giallo", as it's not so much about being a murder mystery as it is being a character profile and a "Repulsion" style story of one young woman's mental decline. Lovely Mimsy Farmer is the woman in question, Silvia Hacherman, a chemist with an unhappy past who begins to see things that she can't make sense of. She doesn't know if she can even trust the people who are part of her life, from her would-be boyfriend Roberto (Maurizio Bonuglia) to another friend, Andy (Jho Jhenkins) to her subtly creepy neighbour Mr. Rossetti (Mario Scaccia). Just who is the strange Woman in Black that Silvia sees in her mirror? Or the equally off putting little girl (Lara Wendel) who insists on being part of her life? Right from the start, "The Perfume of the Lady in Black" promises to be an interesting trip, accompanied by a wonderful music score composed by Nicola Piovani. The look of the movie always helps, also, in insuring that one wants to keep watching even though there are parts of the story that drag. Those viewers expecting more traditional thrills will have to wait until the very end for some juicy bits of gore (that actually seem out of place amidst the low key nature of the rest of the movie). Co- writer / director Francesco Barilli (who wrote the movie with Massimo D'Avak, whose credits include "Who Saw Her Die?" and "The Man from the Deep River") keeps us, along with his main character, off balance with his deft balancing of real and fantastical elements. By the time that his movie is over, it may well have provoked more questions than provided answers, but I agree with others that by this very nature this becomes a highly intriguing if not entirely successful psychological thriller, made at a time when that phrase hadn't yet been introduced into the lexicon. It certainly leaves the viewer to think about what they've seen afterwards. It's good material that is worth a look for adventurous fans of Italian cinema. Seven out of 10.
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