Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Vanessa Redgrave's nude scenes and Ennio Morricone's score are the only items of considerable merit in this convoluted, pretentious thriller.

A Quiet Place In The Country (1968) dir. Elio Petri
Starring: Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave

Review By Greg Klymkiw

This is a strange, perverse, but ultimately pretentious Repulsion-styled thriller with Franco Nero as an artist who is going completely out of his mind and may or may not be haunted by the ghost of a woman he may or may not have murdered. His patron is a wealthy woman played by Vanessa Redgrave. He may or may not be having sex with her. The movie is replete with plenty of cool images, an amazing Ennio Morricone score and more nudity from Vanessa Redgrave than I ever thought humanly possibly. And it's great nudity, too. What a babe!

That said, I really couldn't make any sense of this. It's not suspenseful enough to work fully as a thriller - especially since its plot is such a mess - and it's not much of an art house item (or is, depending upon how you feel about arthouse picture) as it feels annoyingly, boneheadedly precious. Shockingly, it received a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in the late 60s. Must have been a slow year.

As a "head" film in the tradition of Alejandro Jodorowsky's El Topo or Holy Mountain, it also doesn't really cut the mustard since it never feels like it's about ANYTHING. Whether one is willing to acknowledge that Jodorowsky makes movies that ARE about something is not at issue here, they at least feel like they MIGHT be about something.

A Quiet Place in the Country is an overwrought acid trip that I ultimately didn't "get", but it's a definite curiosity piece and well worth seeing on that basis alone.

I might actually even watch it again.

Just to see if I missed something.

Just to see if it might be better than I'm giving it credit for. Or not.

It still makes for compelling viewing. One can't say that about too many movies as flawed and head-scratching as this one is. And it's one of the only films I find Vanessa Redgrave to be really sexy in.

Genuinely sexy.

That's something, mais non?

"A Quiet Place in the Country" is part of the MGM DVD-R on-demand series. It's a decent transfer from excellent source material and available either through special order online or at specialty video retailers. In Toronto, Canada the best place to purchase such titles directly in a retail setting is at the Sunrise Records flagship store at Yonge and Dundas.