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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
Yesterday I watched one of the my favourite giallos of all time. The House with the laughing windows(1976) was directed by Pupi avati. I have to admit my ignorance of Pupi avati as a director. I only know he has directed some other cult movie called Zeder. Judging by this movie, he was destined for great things but that potential was never fulfilled.
The plot goes like this. Stefano is a restorer comes to an island in order to rescue the fresco depicting the suffering of St.Sebastian. The artist(now dead) was known to be a disturbed individual who painted scenes of death and suffering. He is somehow given a place to live by a somewhat mentally challenged individual. From this point onwards, he notices the sinister behaviour of the villagers. He doesn't understand it and decides to get to the bottom of the mystery that haunts the village.
This giallo is unique and quite different from other giallos because unlike other giallos, there is not much gratuitous violence or sex to keep the viewer interested. There are no scenes which would shock the viewer or anything like that. That is one reason why giallo aficionados might not appreciate this movie completely. It does not have the usual gimmicks and over the top acting performances that are generally expected from giallo actors and actresses. The leading man(Lino capollichio) is amazingly capable of carrying the whole movie on his shoulders with a restrained performance of a man who is puzzled and somewhat disturbed by the village and its environment.
The ending is one of best aspects of the film. It is the perfect payoff for patiently building the atmosphere throughout the movie. Another aspect is the creepy atmosphere throughout the movie. It is almost downright scary sometimes. In this aspect, this movie is similar to a movie like Don't look now or Japanese horror than generic giallo films or slashers.
The negative aspects that may turn off some giallo lovers is that it is quite slow but the slow buildup in fact increases the tension and that makes the ending all the more worthwhile. The best scene(according to me) is the scene in the dark room where the hero walks through the room slowly. There is absolute silence in the room which is very unlike other giallo films.
Final rating: 10/10. Yes, it may seem very high but it is worth the high rating. Anybody lucky enough to be able to get a copy of this movie should watch it.
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