I’ve been in such a roll of not so popular Italian movies of the 70s and early 80s. One thing I’m seeing a trend of are themes revolving around repressed sexuality in women. Many times the women are humiliated or are the humiliator in these movies and sex is often driving the narrative. Arrow and other genre-bending distributors are restoring these cult favorites, mostly of the Giallo sub-genre. Directors like Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento helped solidify this sub-genre and developed a dedicated fanbase that lives and breathe these movies.
With a title like THE FORBIDDEN PHOTOS OF A LADY ABOVE SUSPICION, it’s doubtful that sex and murder will be a part of an overly dramatic story. My theory was absolutely on point and I enjoyed every moment as it actually felt like a thriller with a paranoid protagonist who might not be the most reliable. We follow Minou, a newly married yet neglected woman as her husband is always traveling for work. She takes a walk on the beach one night and bumps into a man who informs her that her husband has killed a business associate. Promising to keep his mouth and evidence shut, he bribes her into having sex with him. The sex isn’t always so vanilla as it plays out pretty degrading and he wants her to be a submissive victim. She wants this to stop and when others get involved in uncovering who exactly this man is, it becomes a blur of reality due to it becoming more questionable if this is all in her head or someone trying to make her think that.
It really is a fun, sexy mystery especially when she gets her friend, Dominique, involved as she is more open about her sexuality and unapologetic. Directed by Luciano Ercoli, the movie never gets too crazy like others of its kind and rather feels more like a traditional thriller than one would think. Although the ending isn’t that shocking, it’s still a good time to watch. It also makes me think I grew up in the wrong decade because I find myself attracted every male in these Italian movies.
Arrow has tagged on some great special features to accompany this blu-ray release. Along with the usual 2K restoration of the original camera negative, you can choose to watch the original Italian version or the English dubbed (which isn’t as distracting as most dubbed movies go). There’s a new documentary featuring both archival and new interviews with cast and crew. Reversal artwork and illustrated collector’s booklet (first pressing only) makes this definitely a must own for collectors.
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