Footprints ★★★★

Luigi Bazzoni's 1975 giallo is barely a giallo, with just a touch of violence and no black gloves in sight. Instead he gives us a thick mood piece as Florinda Balkan rolls around in sheets of mystery for 90 minutes with captivating results.

Balkan is Alice, a woman who seems to have slept through or blacked out the past few days of her life. Then she sees the mysterious ripped up postcard on her kitchen floor, containing a photo of a hotel on the island of Garma. Alice takes the next flight out there, to that hotel, and to this small island of strangers who all seem to know her and keep calling her Nicole. Throughout all this Alice has these recurring dreams featuring scenes from an old sci-fi movie she watched about an astronaut left to die on the moon.

Florida Balkan is a force here, as you watch her play this lost woman magnetized to the ambiguous world she's slowly drowning in. Flirting with this supposed identity given to her by the locals, she keeps pulling out clues but nothing adds up. Bazzoni seems more concerned here with the feel of a mystery more than the properties of one, and with Balkan's incredible performance you're floating along this careful tapestry of uncertain realities. It's intoxicating, if occasionally slight and sleepy.

Beautifully shot with an incredible score, especially all those classical guitar-and-flute led passages that were set for maximum nostalgic effect, it's hard to hate on this film's discombobulating narrative and lack of violence. If Bazzoni's earlier giallo The Possessed was a monochromatic fog, this would be a beach-set mist, a dreamy haze that isn't quite a nightmare but is suffocating with its own languid dread.

Almost comparable to something like Picnic At Hanging Rock, but a bit pulpier and less prismatic. Hard to label it a Giallo, and yet the genre's penchant for heightened drama, stylish excess, and inescapable mystery is all present here. Its execution is direct for such a glistening arthouse slow-burn, with luckily no academic stuffiness to drag it away from its mystical bent.

Hard to recommen, but if you'd rather bathe in a deep dream than bask in ultra-violence and sleaze, this might be the Giallo for you. So - highly recommended.

Bob liked these reviews