Monday, October 03, 2011

Scariest Characters in Cinema #29 - ? (red hood)

It's hard to explain the character pictured (barely) in this slide without spoiling everything that makes Don't Look Now such a haunting and memorable film. The film is about John and Laura Baxter (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie), a married couple staying in Venice following the accidental death of their young daughter Christine. They meet a blind woman (Hilary Mason) who claims to be clairvoyant and calmly informs Laura that she can see Christine. The subtle accumulation of visual clues and juxtapositions director Nicolas Roeg, in his signature fragmented editing style, uses to keep us off-balance for most of the film come together with devastating clarity when this character appears.

I first saw Don't Look Now eight years ago at the Harvard Film Archives. I was completely absorbed by the film - the way Venice is at once beautiful and threatening, the tender and realistic portrait of a marriage, the frankness of the sex scene (which was uncommon even 30 years later), and the escalating sense of dread that makes sense when this character turns would be wrong to say anything else. If you've never seen Don't Look Now, check it out.

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