Italian Giallo has produced many great films and it seems to be a style of filming that many want to replicate. My recent review of Masks shows that it can be possible to reproduce the glory days of Giallo, but still offer up an original and interesting story. However, sometimes an homage goes a bit too far and the story ends up sacrificed for style. Francesca is one such film that falters in the story department but excels in the reproduction of the classic Italian Giallo. It hits the right notes in the look, the sound and the feel, but it just can’t produce a solid story.
DISCS: 3 (1 CD, 1 DVD, 1 Blu-ray)
RUN-TIME: 77 min
ASPECT RATIO: 2.55:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 2015
RELEASE DATE: Sept 27, 2016
It’s been 15 years since the disappearance of little Francesca, daughter of the renowned poet and playwright, Vittorio Visconti. The community is stalked by a psychopath bent on cleaning the city of “impure and damned souls”. Moretti and Succo are the detectives in charge of finding the killer of these “Dantesque” crimes. Francesca has returned, but she is not be the same girl they once knew.
Instead of the black gloved killer in typical Giallo films, Francesca looks to spice things up and give us a red gloved killer instead. The red gloved killer (who may or may not be a woman) is killing people and leaving coins on their eyes. The killer’s MO relies heavily on the story of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, where the victims who have done bad deeds are going to hell, but they first must pay the ferry toll (okay, that is a very broad and terrible summary of Dante’s work. I’m sorry). Each victim that has been murdered has a somewhat shady past.
An Inspector by the name of Bruno Moretti is knee-deep in the investigation, but he can’t seem to catch a break. As the bodies start to pile up and the murders start looking like they have a connection with a girl named Francesca, who has been missing for 15 years, Moretti worries he may never catch the killer.
That’s the general gist of Francesca, but unfortunately, things aren’t as straightforward as the summary above will have you believe. The film loves to take a detour to the weird section of filming known as artsy-fartsy, which doesn’t add anything to the story, but instead comes across like the director is screaming “look at me! look at me! I can do Giallo!”
Francesca looks to capture the glory days of 1970s Italian Giallo and it certainly succeeds in capturing the look, but the story really needed some work done on it. Even as the film ended, I was still not entirely sure who exactly the killer was and why they were doing the killings.
Francesca has come out in a three-disc set from UNEARTHED FILMS and MVD Entertainment Group and it certainly looks nice. You have the included soundtrack, which is heavy on the Giallo style, the DVD and finally the Blu-ray. Judging the audio and video of the film ends up being a tall task, as it has been purposely made to look blown out, old and dubbed poorly. If that is what they wanted for a look, they certainly did a great job. I did have an issue with the subtitles being displayed a bit too early and there was one time where a spelling mistake was present.
As for the special features, they are a bit on the light side. You have some behind the scenes footage, an alternate opening, a hidden scene (it plays a bit after the end credits, so not really hidden per say), an interview with Producer Nicolás Onetti and Director Luciano Onetti, who comes across a bit pretentious thanks to him choosing to do the entire interview wearing Ray Ban sunglasses (in fact, he shot the damn movie with sunglasses on. Um, aren’t you worried about lighting issues?) Finally, we have some trailers for other films.
- Behind the Scenes
- Deleted Scene (Alternate Beginning)
- Interview – Luciano and Nicolas Onetti
- Hidden Scene
I guess the biggest compliment I can give Francesca, is when I asked my wife what year she thought this film was from, she immediately said 1970’s. Of course, that isn’t going to make the film a winner based on looks alone. You have to least do a better job of providing a more coherent story and then we can talk about it being a game changer. For now, the film is a style over substance, but nevertheless, it’s a delicious style.