Giallo Inflected Imagery in Anni 90 Parte II (Oldoini, 1993)

Thursday, 7 May 2020

In Enrico Oldoini's 1993 episodic comedy Anni 90 Parte II, one of the episodes of the piece, Luna di fiele, contains a scene which feels indebted to Bitter Moon (Polanski, 1992) but also feels reminiscent of the giallo.  In Luna di fiele, womaniser Salvatore has a sexual encounter which quickly proves to be more than he bargained for. Meeting with an elegant, mysterious woman (played by American supermodel Carol Alt), Salvatore eagerly follows her back to her sumptuous villa with the expectation of a night of passionate lovemaking. Yet when they arrive at the villa, things soon take a sadomasochistic turn and Salvatore finds himself at the mercy of the mystery woman who scratches his torso with her long crimson fingernails and binds his hands with a silver belt. Heading to her bedroom, she then reappears dressed in a PVC black raincoat, stockings and high heels with a straight edged razor in hand. The scene an example of the glamorised sadomasochistic eroticism that appeared to be de rigueur in the early 1990s.

With Anni 90 Parte II coming out in 1993, a year after Polanski's Bitter Moon, the scene is undoubtedly a comedic tribute to the memorable sex games that occur in Polanski's erotic thriller, Oldoini even goes as far as to name the episode Luna di fiele - Bitter Moon's Italian title. However, despite the overt references to Polanski's thriller; the red inflected lighting, opulent villa interior (Villa Gallarati Scotti) and visual signifiers of the giallo (straight edged razor, black raincoat) conjure comparisons to the Italian thriller. Is this perhaps an example of the way in which the imagery of the Italian thriller went on to shape the thriller cinema of the United States and beyond and how that it turn, once again manifested in the Italian cinema of the 1990s? Never the less, in a somewhat mediocre nineties comedy, this small scene provides an injection of the style and drama one would typically associate with the giallo all'italiana of a bygone age.

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