Footprints

Footprints ★★★★½

Enigmatic and mystical 70s thriller with an algid Florinda Bolkan in the role of a translator living in Rome, who experiences some mysterious vision about a man abandoned on the moon by an ominous villain (Klaus Kinski), connected to her loss of memory that will bring her to visit Garma, a sort of One Thousand and One Nights dreamy place that hides some secret of her past life.
The story has Memento vibes, with the protagonist trying to track back what has happened to her in the recent past after current amnesia. What's striking, undoubtedly, is the beauty of the setting and cinematography (by Vittorio Storaro): in the initial part, we see Alice in an unedited Rome showed not through its most famous monuments but in a modern vestige as an intercontinental city (there are the EUR and the Palazzo Della Civiltà Italiana, also known like "square colosseum", newly built skyscrapers and the minimal, total white flat where the protagonist lives) crowded with people who speak English (pure futurism for 70s Italy, capital as well!); in total contrast, we discover Garma (actually Turkey) where the rest of the story takes place, depicted in an ethereal and oniric way with its white marbles, tall minarets and almost ethereal lights, where all the people there seem to know Alice, but under the name of Nicole... The juxtaposition of these two places is fundamental to understand what the whole story is about: reality against dream, chaos contra quiet, sanity versus instability; this duality gets continuously suggested in all the scenes where we see Alice/Nicole in front of a mirror, first in her flat than in the beautiful room of the Garma hotel, insisting more and more and becoming increasingly daring through the movie.
The plot starts from engaging premises, wanting to undertake a psychological investigation of a woman's compromised mental stability, turning it into a lucid dream with an oriental flavour; probably the final resolution might feel not as fulfilling as some more recent thrillers, but to me, it results in an original take upon a distorted female character.

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