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Argento Summer at NYC’s Lincoln Center

If you are a fan of Giallo and Italian horror, there is only one place to be this summer… From June 17-29, NYC’s Lincoln Center and Italy’s Cinecittà will be unveiling Beware of Dario Argento: A 20-Film Retrospective. The two esteemed institutions will co-present the iconic Italian horror director’s influential feature films, 17 of them premiering in brand-new 4K restorations prepared expressly for this occasion by Cinecittà. Best of all, the octogenarian director will be attending in person for select screenings. The comprehensive lineup will also host the North American debut of Dark Glasses, Argento’s first movie in 10 years.

“It is always a pleasure to collaborate with Cinecittà, partner on some of our most popular retrospectives of all time, and this time in honor of a living legend,” said Dennis Lim, Director of Programming, FLC and Artistic Director, New York Film Festival. “To be able to present these striking new restorations to New York audiences with Dario Argento in person is a thrill and an honor.”

Per the press release, “the retrospective will pay homage to Argento’s singular voice in horror cinema, from his seminal debut feature The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, widely regarded with popularizing giallo internationally, and other unforgettable contributions to the subgenre including: Deep Red, Tenebrae, and Opera; to his masterful paranormal-tinged Phenomena and supernatural ‘Three Mothers Trilogy’: the wildly influential Suspiria, 35mm screenings of Inferno and Mother of Tears; to underscreened gems like Trauma, The Stendhal Syndrome, The Black Cat, and Dracula 3D, as well as his made-for-television feature, Do You Like Hitchcock?

All films will play at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th Street). For tickets to the screenings and more info, go here www.filmlinc.org/argento.

Hold onto your seat. Here’s the full lineup:

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage / L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo
Dario Argento, Italy/West Germany, 1970, 96m
Italian with English subtitles
For his seminal directorial debut, Argento took Fredric Brown’s 1949 novel The Screaming Mimi and transformed it into a horror-inflected whodunit of voyeuristic delirium. Sam (Tony Musante), an American writer living in Rome, witnesses a vicious knife attack on a beautiful woman (Eva Renzi) inside an art gallery. After the police fail to make any progress in the case—and confiscate his passport, preventing him from leaving the country—Sam becomes obsessed with uncovering the black-leather-gloved assailant’s identity. Featuring one of Ennio Morricone’s most distinct scores, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage marked the emergence of a singular artistic sensibility and anticipated the extreme directions taken by Argento in his subsequent films: the director’s signature foregrounding of vivid cinematic techniques—from dizzying POV sequences to gory slo-mo—are on display here, fully formed and boldly provocative. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)

Friday, June 17 at 6:00 pm (Q&A with Dario Argento)
Sunday, June 26 at 1:15 pm

The Cat o’ Nine Tails / Il gatto a nove code
Dario Argento, Italy/France/West Germany, 1971, 112m
English and Italian with English subtitles
Argento chased The Bird with the Crystal Plumage’s box-office success with his most accessible Giallo thriller, a hybrid mystery/buddy movie that pairs Karl Malden’s blind cruciverbalist with James Franciscus’ intrigued reporter. Here Argento experiments with his chosen genre’s procedural-style fetishism: the movie’s title refers to the number of leads that will ultimately steer the amateur sleuths to a mysterious serial killer. Argento constructs the film’s mystery within the framework of a crossword puzzle whose clues slyly allude to seeing, sightlessness, and how the limits of our perception obscure the truth. The movie’s eruptive and still-shocking violence fosters a nightmarish tension throughout and perfectly complements Ennio Morricone’s alternately slinky and discordant avant-jazz score. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Saturday, June 18 at 1:15 pm
Sunday, June 26 at 3:30 pm

Four Flies on Grey Velvet / 4 mosche di velluto grigio
Dario Argento, Italy/France, 1971, 104m
Italian with English subtitles
A confluence of near-misses and eerie coincidences transforms the past into a prophetic conspiracy in Four Flies on Grey Velvet, the final entry in Argento’s “Animal” trilogy of giallo thrillers. Directorial doppelgänger Michael Brandon plays the troubled lead, a prog-rock drummer who is blackmailed by a menacing masked figure for a murder that he may or may not have committed, and enlists the help of a detective (Jean-Pierre Marielle) to identify his blackmailer before it’s too late. Four Flies’s nightmarish set pieces rank among the director’s best, and the movie’s playfully convoluted mystery plot looks forward to Deep Red’s gleeful synthesis of Hitchcockian sadism and Antonioni-inspired alienation. (4K digital restoration by Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Surf Film)

Saturday, June 18 at 3:45 pm
Sunday, June 26 at 6:00 pm

The Five Days / Le cinque giornate
Dario Argento, Italy, 1973, 122m
Italian with English subtitles
Argento took a break from Giallo with this broad and bleak farce, a period piece set during Italy’s Revolutions of 1848 and shot near the beginning of its infamous “Years of Lead” (two decades of social and political strife). Popular singer/songwriter Adriano Celentano stars as an unlucky thief who falls into a series of comic misadventures as he and his happy-go-lucky companion (Enzo Cerusico) search for “Liberty” (Glauco Onorato), an ex-brigand–turned–saintlike revolutionary. Inspired by events that were documented in Milanese citizens’ journals, the director’s most overtly political movie warns viewers not to be seduced by nationalistic demagogues and the mobs that serve them. Rarely seen after it bombed at the domestic box office, The Five Days evokes the Spaghetti Western’s characteristic mix of violence, political ambivalence and gallows humor. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Sunday, June 19 at 12:30 pm
Tuesday, June 28 at 1:00 pm

Deep Red / Profondo rosso
Dario Argento, Italy, 1975, 127m
Italian, German, and Hebrew with English subtitles
BlowUp’s David Hemmings takes the lead in Argento’s most sophisticated giallo, playing a jazz pianist who struggles to remember a vital piece of evidence after witnessing the murder of Macha Méril’s German psychic. Joined by Argento’s real-life partner Daria Nicolodi in the role of a plucky journalist, Hemmings embarks on a dizzying tour of Rome (with shooting locations in Turin standing in for the capital city) which, through Argento’s roving, supra-human lens, appears just as haunted and hyper-compartmentalized as the movie’s tortured human protagonists. Ranked among the director’s masterworks, Deep Red is supplemented by Argento’s first score with Italian prog-rock band Goblin and astonishing production design by Giuseppe Bassan. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Saturday, June 18 at 6:00 pm (Q&A with Dario Argento)
Wednesday, June 22 at 6:15 pm
Tuesday, June 28 at 3:45 pm

Suspiria
Dario Argento, Italy, 1977, 92m
English, Italian, Russian, German, and Latin with English subtitles
One of cinema’s most potent hallucinogens, Argento’s witchy freak-out is a sustained spectacle of outrageously stylized violence and eye-popping art direction. When Jessica Harper’s doe-eyed American ballerina arrives in Germany to study at directress Joan Bennett’s renowned dance academy, she stumbles through the looking glass into a maze of mayhem, murder, and maggots. It all takes place in one of film history’s most outlandish haunted houses: a riot of demonic neon lighting, surrealist-baroque décor, and, oh yeah, that barbed-wire room. Add the iconic, eardrum-shattering score by prog-occultists Goblin, and you’ve got the most extravagant slasher movie of all time. (4K digital restoration by Videa)

Saturday, June 18 at 9:00 pm (introduction by Dario Argento)
Saturday, June 25 at 6:30 pm
Wednesday, June 29 at 2:00 pm

Inferno
Dario Argento, Italy, 1980, 35mm, 106m
Italian and Latin with English subtitles
Despite its nightmarish extension of Suspiria’s adult Technicolor fairy tale, the middle segment of Argento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy was barely released by international distributor 20th Century Fox due to a mid-production regime change. This partly explains why the loosely connected second installment—about a supernatural conspiracy that unites Suspiria’s Freiburg Dance Academy with a cursed Upper West Side apartment building—didn’t get its own sequel until almost 30 years later. Still, Inferno’s Art Nouveau meltdown remains a creative highlight for Argento, given its rapturous expression of Jungian archetypes, brought to life with an operatic score composed by British prog-rocker Keith Emerson, some technical and visual-effects assistance from horror maestro Mario Bava, armloads of domestic cats and the specter of Death himself.
Monday, June 20 at 6:30 pm
Saturday, June 25 at 9:00 pm

Tenebrae
Dario Argento, Italy, 1982, 101m
English, Italian,
and Spanish with English subtitles
A deranged killer reenacts the work of popular mystery novelist Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa) in this exuberantly perverse Giallo thriller, Argento’s macabre riposte to his armchair-psychologist critics. Like The Cat o’ Nine Tails before it, Tenebrae baits the viewer by applying a problem-solving framework to a mystery that is, at heart, about the logic-defying limits of what we can know and see. Made seven years after Deep Red, Argento imagined an ahistorical Rome of the future, where combatively fetishistic murders occur in broad daylight and nobody really talks about the past even as it threatens to destroy everything in its path. Daria Nicolodi and John Saxon co-star, with Goblin contributing an icy disco-synth score. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Friday, June 17 at 9:00 pm (introduction by Dario Argento)
Friday, June 24 at 6:45 pm

Phenomena
Dario Argento, Italy/Switzerland, 1985, 116m
English, Italian, Swiss German,
and Danish with English subtitles
As he did in Rome for Tenebrae, Argento manipulated locations in Zürich to produce an uncanny sense of place with Phenomena, a paranormal-tinged Giallo set in an alternate ’80s, ostensibly decades after Nazi Germany had won World War II. Jennifer Connelly stars as a sleepwalking, telepathic 14-year-old who, while attending a remote Swiss boarding school named after Richard Wagner, teams up with a forensic entomologist (Donald Pleasence) and his nurse—a trained chimpanzee named Inga—to investigate a string of brutal murders. One of Argento’s finer and stranger films, Phenomena (often cited among his personal favorites) marked a radical departure for the director, who combined the bloodiest trappings of his previous gialli and the supernatural insanity of his “Three Mothers” films into something altogether more outré. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)

Sunday, June 19 at 5:30 pm (Q&A with Dario Argento)
Thursday, June 23 at 6:30 pm

Opera
Dario Argento, Italy, 1987, 107m
English, Italian, and German with English subtitle
Argento’s mid-career masterpiece is a partial re-imagining of Gaston Leroux’s classic novel The Phantom of the Opera (which the director would explicitly adapt in 1998), drawing further inspiration from his own abortive experience mounting a stage production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. The film concerns a budding soprano (Cristina Marsillach) who, through the homicidal mediations of a masked stalker, rises to a lead role in an avant-garde staging of Verdi’s Macbeth (whose director, played by Ian Charleson, is a former horror filmmaker). Made shortly after the paranormal-tinged Phenomena, the dizzyingly self-referential Opera took the director’s penchant for provocation to new heights and reaffirmed his knack for staging brutal, operatic violence. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Sunday, June 19 at 3:00 pm
Thursday, June 23 at 4:00 pm
Friday, June 24 at 9:00 pm

The Black Cat / Il gatto nero
Dario Argento, Italy/USA, 1990, 66m
Harvey Keitel stars as an unlovable, Weegee-esque photographer who grows obsessed with a mysterious black cat that keeps wandering into his darkroom. A pastiche of various Edgar Allan Poe short stories, Argento’s contribution to the Two Evil Eyes horror pairing—his first collaboration with George Romero since 1978, when Argento helped Romero to secure funding for Dawn of the Dead—stands apart as an unnerving actor’s showcase for Keitel, whom Argento gave free rein to express what the filmmaker, in an interview with Maitland McDonagh, called “the psychology of someone who commits a crime and believes he can remain silent.” (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Tuesday, June 21 at 4:00 pm

Wednesday, June 29 at 6:30 pm

Trauma
Dario Argento, Italy, 1993, 110m
This chilly mystery thriller—the first father/daughter collaboration between director Dario and star Asia Argento—follows Aura, an anorexic teenager on the run after her parents’ murder at the hands of a mysterious serial killer, who wields a custom-made motorized garrote. Taking inspiration from his own niece’s experience with an eating disorder, the director—who co-wrote the script with American horror novelist T.E.D. Klein (The Ceremonies)—explores Freudian anxieties of abandonment, and feelings of invisibility in one’s own body and environment. Trauma features music by frequent De Palma composer Pino Donaggio, a supporting cast that includes Brad Dourif and Piper Laurie, and one of Argento’s best (and most grisly) twist endings. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Monday, June 20 at 4:15 pm

Saturday, June 25 at 4:00 pm

The Stendhal Syndrome / La sindrome di stendhal
Dario Argento, Italy, 1996, 113m
Italian with English subtitles
Asia Argento delivers her first great lead performance in this dark psychological thriller, an adaptation of Graziella Magherini’s novel. She stars as Anna Manni, a police officer who’s raped and stalked by a killer (Thomas Kretschmann) after fainting in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. In interviews, the director has said that he needed an actress who was “spontaneous,” “nervous,” and “modern” for the challenging role of Anna, and while the part was originally conceived with Bridget Fonda in mind, it’s now impossible to imagine anyone but Asia bringing the character to life. Featuring composer Ennio Morricone’s first post–Animal Trilogy score for Argento, The Stendhal Syndrome presents trauma as a communicable virus and art as a channel for overwhelming self-destructive emotions. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)

Friday, June 24 at 4:00 pm
Wednesday, June 29 at 8:15 pm

The Phantom of the Opera / Il fantasma dell’opera
Dario Argento, Italy, 1998, 99m
Italian and French with English subtitles
The Paris Opera House—conjured by Argento on a studio set in Hungary—is alive and overrun with rats in this full-throated adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s Gothic classic. Here, the Byronic Phantom (Julian Sands) is outwardly handsome and instantly attractive to young singer Christine (Asia Argento). He also happens to have been raised by rats and is perhaps a little too comfortable in their company. Argento and his co-writer Gérard Brach (Repulsion, The Tenant) contrast the elusive nature of the central pair’s relationship with the compulsive behavior of István Bubik’s Rat Catcher. Argento was inspired to add Bubik’s grubby villain to Leroux’s narrative after he, in real life, spotted a rat in the Paris Opera’s research library. Featuring a score by Ennio Morricone, Argento’s Phantom of the Opera is his most unabashedly romantic chiller to date. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)

Monday, June 20 at 2:00 pm
Tuesday, June 28 at 9:00 pm

Sleepless / Non ho sonno
Dario Argento, Italy, 2001, 117m
Italian with English subtitles
Max von Sydow stars in this Giallo whodunit, one of a handful of Argento-helmed mysteries set and filmed in Turin. Von Sydow plays Ulisse Moretti, a retired cop who, years earlier, was tasked with solving a bizarre series of killings known as “The Dwarf Murders.” The details of that case slowly return to Moretti after he teams up with Officer Giacomo Gallo (Stefano Dionisi), whose mother was brutally murdered with a clarinet in the same fateful year. Originally titled Non ho sonno (“I Can’t Sleep”), a nod to the half-forgotten nursery rhyme that triggers the murderer’s compulsive behavior, the film takes inspiration from classic mysteries—particularly of detectives Hercule Poirot, Ellery Queen, and Nero Wolfe—and from consultations with contemporary Giallo author Carlo Lucarelli that shaped the movie’s police-procedural sequences. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Wednesday, June 22 at 9:00 pm
Monday, June 27 at 3:30 pm

The Card Player / Il cartaio
Dario Argento, Italy, 2003, 103m
Italian with English subtitles
A killer challenges a Roman police inspector (Stefania Rocca) and a visiting Irish cop (Liam Cunningham) to a series of high-stakes online poker games in this characteristically tart poliziesco detective thriller. Like many of Argento’s gialli, The Card Player features a macabre, and sometimes elusive, sense of humor. Inspired by Dogme 95 filmmakers including Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, and shot mostly with natural light, The Card Player envisions Internet-Age Rome as a desaturated liminal space. Argento teases viewers right up until the film’s manic climax, involving a laptop, two pairs of handcuffs, and an oncoming train. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Wednesday, June 22 at 3:30 pm

Tuesday, June 28 at 6:30 pm

Do You Like Hitchcock? / Ti piace Hitchcock?
Dario Argento, Italy/Spain, 2005, 93m
Italian and Spanish with English subtitles
This playful thriller is as much an homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s paranoiac style as it is a hopeful tribute to modern film students and horror filmmakers alike. Originally intended to be the pilot episode of a cinema-themed series for Italian television, Do You Like Hitchcock? follows Giulio (Elio Germano), a clueless academic and reluctant voyeur who stumbles upon a murder plot involving his sexy neighbor (Elisabetta Rocchetti) and a mysterious blonde (Chiara Conti). An appropriately tongue-in-cheek score by Pino Donaggio (Body Double, Dressed to Kill) evokes the composer’s former reputation as “the new Bernard Herrmann,” perfectly paired with Argento’s “Italian Hitchcock.” (2K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Saturday, June 25 at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, June 29 at 4:15 pm

Mother of Tears / La terza madre
Dario Argento, Italy/USA, 2007, 102m
English, Italian, Japanese, and Hungarian with English subtitles
An invigorating experience working on two episodes of Showtime’s Masters of Horror anthology series (“Jenifer” and “Pelts”) compelled Argento to finish his supernatural “Three Mothers” trilogy. Daria Nicolodi and Udo Kier return to help Asia Argento fight the pitiless, bloodthirsty witch Mater Lachrymarum (Moran Atias) and her cannibalistic acolytes. Rather than rehash bygone glory days, when amateur sleuths fought to suppress their newly aggravated psychosexual angst, Argento concludes his iconic triptych with a giddy and gross apocalyptic conspiracy thriller, set in a modern age already overrun with dark magical thinking. (4K digital restoration by Cinecittà)
Monday, June 20 at 9:00 pm
Monday, June 27 at 1:00 pm

Dracula 3D
Dario Argento, Italy/France/Spain, 2012, 110m
Stendhal Syndrome co-stars Thomas Kretschmann and Asia Argento reunite as Count Dracula and Lucy in Argento’s idiosyncratic update of Bram Stoker’s foundational vampire novel. Here, Dracula transforms into various creatures of the night, including an owl and a giant praying mantis, and lords it over a terrified community of superstitious people, most of whom are either in denial or too scared to challenge their undead master. Shot in vivid 3D by Luciano Tovoli (Suspiria, Tenebrae) and scored by a post-Goblin Claudio Simonetti, Dracula 3D also features Rutger Hauer’s charismatic performance as the archetypally pure-hearted vampire-slayer Abraham Van Helsing. (Presented in 3D)Thursday, June 23 at 9:00 pm
Sunday, June 26 at 8:30 pm

Dark Glasses / Occhiali neri
Dario Argento, Italy/France, 2022, 90m
Italian with English subtitles
This unusually tender giallo thriller—the maestro’s first movie in 10 years—follows Diana (Ilenia Pastorelli), a Roman sex worker, and Chin (Andrea Zhang), a Chinese-Italian preteen, as they try to catch a wire-wielding serial strangler after the killer causes a fateful car crash that leaves Diana blind and Chin orphaned. Argento revived and rewrote an earlier draft of Dark Glasses in collaboration with regular co-writer Franco Ferrini (Phenomena, The Card Player) and associate producer Asia Argento, who co-stars as an encouraging social worker. Argento draws unexpected connections between otherwise disparate corners of Rome—a city that, in this movie, is haunted by the presence of lonely outsiders. With a sleek, club-ready synth score by BPM (Beats Per Minute) composer Arnaud Rebotini, Dark Glasses offers a thrilling reminder of Argento’s gift for keeping even his most devoted fans guessing. (A Shudder release)
Sunday, June 19 at 8:30 pm (introduction by Dario Argento)

Tony Timpone