Directed by Luciano Onetti
Written by Luciano and Nicolás Onett
Starring Luis Emilio Rodriguez, Gustavo Dalessanro, Raul Gederlini, Silvina Grippaldi, Evangelina Goitia, Juan Baustista Massolo
Over the last few years, there have been a few filmmakers out there that are trying to recreate the look and feel of the ’70s giallo films from Italy. Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani’s Amer (2009) and The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013) come to mind, as well as the more recent film The Editor (2014), by Adam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy. Each of these films capture the look and feel of the sub-genre, though The Editor really seemed like it was more concerned with making fun of it than paying tribute. But that’s for another review.
Back in 2013, Argentinean writing/directing/producing team of brothers, Luciano and Nicolás Onetti gave us a film called Sonno Profondo (aka Deep Sleep), which they wrote, directed, and Luciano even starred in this tale of a killer on the loose. Now, they are back with another full length feature film, simply called Francesca. Once again, they both wrote the story, while Luciano directs and Nicolás is the producer. The thing that is amazing about this film, and which I think is quite different about it compared to those earlier titles, is they seemed more concerned just to make a film that fit the look and style of those Italian pictures from the ’70s. They didn’t go overboard with fancy camera tricks and bright colors and lighting. Instead they focused on the film and just making it look a certain way. Yes, Francesca is filled with some incredible images, but it is more than just that. They captured the soul, the essence of what a ’70s giallo was, making it truly look like it was made forty years ago, during the grit and grim of that era. They even had the actors dialogue dubbed into Italian!
In the opening, we see a young girl doing nasty things to a dead bird and eventually more. What a way to open the film. But right away, we are shown some amazingly beautiful and well-crafted shots. Then we jump to present day (whenever that might be) where a poor woman who is bound and gagged, is being tortured by an unknown assailant, which looks to be also a woman. Gustavo Dalessanro plays Detective Benito Succo who is trying to solve this new murder, that he thinks just might have a connection to a case of that happened 15 years ago, when a little girl named Francesca went missing.
We have some incredible cinematography here, which is even more amazing when you learn how they did it. Talk about a small film crew! But it shows where some may just be a fan of this particular sub-genre and tries to replicate the look of it, the Onetti brothers go one further and give us an amazing trip back into the past.
Unearthed Films has given us fans an amazing release here. Not only do you get the movie on blu-ray and DVD, but you also get the soundtrack as well! Who does that? Just like the film, the soundtrack opens up an audio gateway to the ears, taking us back to those crazy jass-infused, rock sounding scores, with some strange audio clips added in their for safe mesaure. And it works perfectly. The disc comes with some great extras which has some interviews with the Onetti brothers, as well as some behind the scenes showing how the film was made. If you are even remotely a fan of Italian giallos, then this is a must for your collection.