Europa Cinema > 20:15


Dario Argento


Saturday 25/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Tenebre is a return to the visible, the recognisable, the decipherable, after the witches, the gothic, the abstract black magic ballets, the mythic Central Europe and the Hapsburg nights. We return – in explicit and provocative contrast to the title – to bright light, to a futuristic and livid Rome. For the first time, in marked contrast with the title, everything takes place in the sunlight – nightmares and murders, investigations and fake plot twists. From the abyss, from the depths of Inferno, we move vertically into a postmodern cosmos dominated by spare, functional décor and open spaces. Light falls horizontally, flatly onto objects; roads, buildings and gardens are empty; everything is brightly illuminated, sun drenched, deserted and glacial. The flashback sequences are even overexposed. Whites dominate, in marked and violent contrast with the red of blood (triumphantly in the celebrated, censored sequence of the mutilation and murder of Veronica Lario) or of Eva Robins’ high heels. Lateral tracking shots and the camera’s acrobatic balancing acts puncture the space as if it were the backstage of a theatre.

Roberto Pugliese, Dario Argento, Il Castoro, Milan 2011


Tenebre signals a break from my previous two films [Suspiria and Inferno]. Bright colours have been replaced by photography that is virtually black and white. Eccentrically blended set designs have been replaced by a never-seen-before Rome, slightly futuristic, with little traffic, a bit of green, and beautiful houses inhabited by unbalanced people. I shot it in the EUR district, but I also made use of beautiful, original interiors like the architect Sandro Petti’s villa, where there are walls full of splendid collages by the painter Mimmo Rotella.
I even tried to illuminate the nighttime murders, as if they took place in the light of day. I wanted to demonstrate that shadows are not murder and horror’s only companions – so, too, is the daytime. Darkness=fear is an obsolete formula.

Dario Argento, in Fabio Maiello, Dario Argento, confessioni di un maestro, Alacran edizioni, Milan 2007

Cast and Credits

Sog., Scen.: Dario Argento. F.: Luciano Tovoli. M.: Franco Fraticelli. Scgf.: Giuseppe Bassan. Mus.: Goblin. Int.: Anthony Franciosa (Peter Neal), Daria Nicolodi (Ann), John Saxon (Bullmer), Giuliano Gemma (il commissario Germani), Carola Stagnaro (ispettrice Altieri), Mirella D’Angelo (Tilde), Christian Borromeo (Gianni), Miriam Bartolini [Veronica Lario] (Jane), Eva Robin’s (ragazza della spiaggia). Prod.: Claudio Argento per Sigma Cinematografica DCP. D.: 101’. Col.