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Pier Paolo Capponi
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
Unremarkable potboiler, unworthy of critical attention
THE HOUSE OF THE LAUGHING WINDOWS (La Casa dalle Finestre che Ridono)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Mono
A young artist (Lino Capolicchio) is summoned to a church in a remote Italian village to restore a crumbling fresco depicting the horrific martyrdom of St. Sebastian. But the man who originally painted the fresco - long believed dead - appears to have been psychologically disturbed, and Capolicchio stumbles on a murderous secret concealed by powerful factions within the village itself...
Long unavailable outside Italy, and highlighted by a glowing review in Phil Hardy's seminal reference work 'The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror' (published as 'The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Horror' in America), Pupi Avati's THE HOUSE OF THE LAUGHING WINDOWS enjoys an exalted reputation amongst fans of Euro-horror. However, the film is a huge disappointment, a horror movie for people who don't really like horror movies, directed by an acclaimed filmmaker whose early work routinely embraced elements of fantasy and horror (BLOOD RELATIONS, THOMAS AND THE BEWITCHED, ZEDER, etc.) before he abandoned the genre and dedicated himself to the successful pursuit of 'upmarket' material (NOI TRE, THE STORY OF BOYS AND GIRLS, BIX, etc.).
Photographed by regular Avati collaborator Pasquale Rachini on bleak but picturesque Italian locations, the film strives to evoke an atmosphere of dread through languid pacing and deliberate camera movements, but poor post-synch Italian dubbing and weak performances by most of the supporting cast makes it difficult for viewers to engage with the narrative's emotional dynamic (when a number of major players are killed toward the end of the film, the effect is almost negligible). The climactic sequences contain a number of genuine surprises, but the build-up leaves much to be desired, and Avati's creative ambitions are scuppered by funereal pacing and a lack of interesting characters. There's no nudity and very little gore, and consequently, no suspense. Too commercial for the Art-house crowd and too pretentious for trash aficionados, THE HOUSE OF THE LAUGHING WINDOWS fails on all counts, and barely warrants a second glance. Those who prefer the likes of DON'T LOOK NOW to THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (for example) may enjoy it, but everyone else will be bored rigid by this unremarkable potboiler.
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