Thursday, March 7, 2013

What Have You Done to Solange? A Giallo Masterpiece

Giallo is a genre of film, that is unlike any other. It encapsulates different elements pulled from other genres and it just forms one sophisticated form of film. When it comes to horror films and thrillers I usually prefer the torture horror so I can look at all the amazing pracical FX. And then there's Giallo. Giallo is just clever, and is in a totally different league. In the past year Giallo has slowly become one of my favourite genres. Many thanks have to go to fellow Podcastration writer Jake AKA Glassie for discussing the awesomeness that these films possess and recommending me titles. When I was bed ridden and sick a couple of months ago, Jake recommended me a couple of films, one of which was, What have you done to Solange? The name just intrigued me a lot so I decided to find a copy and watch it ASAP. It was extremely entertaining, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It reminded me of that game Cluedo. It started off with one suspect and then next thing you know you were weary of everyone. 

Here is the run down. Enrico Rosseni played by Fabio Testi, is a married teacher at a Catholic all girls school, and he is having an affair with one of the students, Elizabeth played by the lovely Cristina Galbo. He and his student/lover are on this tiny boat on the river Thames and she thinks she saw a knife, and that some girl in the grass was murdered, and he just laughs it off and thinks she is using that as an excuse to not hop on the good foot and do the bad thing. The next day the body of a girl from the same Catholic school turns up, in the same place that Elizabeth had pointed out. Enrico is now being seen as a suspect, so he does a little snooping around to find out how he can get himself in the clear, but more bodies are turning up. The more detective work that he does the more he starts to find out about the girls at his school, and an unknown girl named Solange. 

I cannot go on with this article until I have discussed Ennio Morricone's score. This man can do no wrong. There isn't a tonne of music used in the film, but when it's used it really does add eeriness and mystery to the storyline. When there is a lead up to a particular murder, the music starts off fairly mellow and then as the lead up becomes closer and closer it intensifies. But it isn't done over the top, it is very subtly done. Ennio Morricone has a knack for making very simple musical scores and arrangements and making them have such an impact on the scene. The opening credits with his score is just brilliant. Unfortunately they do not have the exact scene of this on youtube, but I have managed to find the actual song that is played. It is extremely haunting, simple, and very dark. It really sets the tone for the film extremely well. Have a listen.

SPOILER ALERT....I am going to discuss one of the killings. Here we have Elizabeth just chillin' in the bath at Rosseni's love pad, she is listening to some music which abruptly stops and we see the killer begin to choke her to death. There are several things I really admire about how this scene was shot. Firstly I love how it is somewhat shot in the killers P.O.V., that really does give it a more personal touch, it makes you feel as if you are in control if this woman lives or dies. Secondly the camera shows you a close up of her legs thrashing about in the bath. The violent thrashing of her legs just conveys her struggle and desperation to survive even more. And as a viewer you can't help but feel short of breath either. As she is being choked we see several close ups of her face in the P.O.V of the killer, and it just insane how close you feel you are to her. As awful as the crime that was bestowed upon her was, she dies quite elegantly under the water. Just her facial expression, the closeness of the shot and how simple it is, just made her last seconds look beautiful, despite the depravity of the crime.

I noticed in a lot of scenes, they don't have a lot of music, even when something is serious or drastic. I find that not having music sometimes add more dramatic effect. I swear your could have heard a pin drop in some of the scenes. Even if it is a conversation with several people, they don't really interrupt one another, it is very basic dialogue, but strong and the silence in the background, just makes you feel that the emotions that are running through the characters are pretty intense. I also noticed that a lot of the scenes had a tonne of close ups of their faces, especially when they would be reacting to something, usually the news of the students deaths. I guess you could say that as the audience you are trying to work out who has the best and worst 'poker face'. 

I think the film isn't as graphic as a lot of other Giallo films, but the murders are still very violent, and are quite stylish in how they were shot. I think the strong element of this film is the way the characters interacted with one another, and how you slowly saw everything unravel between them and their relationships with each other. It was an exceptionally well written yet simple plot, with a little bit of a twist, and it wasn't too convoluted or confusing. There wasn't a tonne of ideas chucked into the mix, to make it this over the top romanticised Giallo film. It was simple, yet very sophisticated. If you do not like blood splatter in your films but you do enjoy a good thriller orientated film, than this would be a perfect film for you to check out. I am just so annoyed I had never heard of this film until this year, I kinda wish I had been able to experience it sooner. But I have managed to watch it several times now and I have loved it more and more with each viewing. Some of the scenes are quite unsettling because it is more left up to your imagination. While you may not see a horrible act committed in its entirety on film, you see the victims face, the close ups of their eyes, you hear their haunting screams. Having all those elements just make it all the more uncomfortable and powerful. Sometimes you don't need blood splatter to get the point across to the viewer, you just need convey emotion, simply. Seeing the victims reactions penetrating through your eyes and up to your brain can be more full on than seeing full impact violence.

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