Expert Author Antonius Block

Italian horror master Argento's Opera is loosely based on The Phantom of the Opera. It's set in the 'Teatro Regio' in Parma, Italy, during the performance of Verdi's Macbeth. The opera is known to bring bad luck and the production of the film was indeed plagued by misfortunes, such as the death of Argento's father, while he was filming. The director returns here to the 'giallo' genre, after his so-called 'supernatural years', during which he presented us with masterpieces such as Deep Red, Suspiria and Phenomena. The lead role is played by the Spanish newcomer Christina Marsillach, who Argento defined the hardest actress he ever had to direct.

The score was composed by Brian Eno and Claudio Simonetti, the latter being a regular contributor to

Dario's films, and the heavy-metal music, which normally accompanies the murders in his movies, is one of the features that gained him heavy acclaim, and one of the reasons why his films have reached the status of cult. Probably, Opera is Dario Argento's last masterpiece, the following films to date revealing a mere shadow of his former glory, though still being high quality productions.

Argento is known for his cinematic flair, and we are not disappointed here; scenes beautifully composed, violent murders, accentuated here by the element of voyeurism, and some shots that will remain in the memory of the viewer, such as the key-hole murder shot. However, although Argento claimed that every shot and camera point of view were justified by a certain logic, we can't help suspecting that some of the visual choices in Opera are simply dictated by bravado. Nonetheless, the results are amazingly beautiful and proportioned, and the viewer will not be let down. Just think, doesn't it titillate you to watch bloody murders being committed right in front of you, while you are tied and have needles taped under your eyes, so you must watch? Yes, I thought so.



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