Francesca (2015) [FrightFest 2016]

FrancescaIn Italy, a detective and an inspector investigate a string of murders happening in their city.  They are soon led to a 15 year old kidnapping case which may shed some light on their current investigation. Director Luciano Onetti with his co-writer Nicolas Onetti builds an almost perfect old school giallo, however it was shot in 2015.  Their film builds a story and characters straight out of the subgenre and these create an entertaining film about two police detectives looking for a serial killer.

The characters are not super deep or very developed but we know enough about them to care about the investigation, the murders, and the characters themselves.  As was often the case with giallos, the style becomes a character itself, permeating the entire film. The cast for this film was clearly chosen for their talent and for their looks.  They all seem to come out of old Italian films with how they carry themselves, how they act, and how they talk.  Of course, a lot of this is due to the writing, directing, and the costumes, but the performances definitely add a lot.  This cast is led by Luis Emilio Rodriguez and Gustavo Dalessanro as Inspector Bruno Moretti and Detective Benito Succo respectively and supported by a talented crew including Raul Gederlini  and Silvina Grippaldi as Vittorio and Nina Visconti.

Everyone involved gives performances that fit in the film, showing talent and that they understood what they were involved in. The credits on the film being completely in Italian, the credits online were the only resource available and these are unfortunately incomplete.  That being said, the film looks fantastic.  Yes, it’s grainy and a bit gritty but it also has the crazy color schemes often seen in giallos.  The costume, how the sequences are framed, the way the scenes are planned, and just about every detail in the film are built to look like it belongs in the late 70s/early 80s, with all the choices carefully done so that the film belongs in its genre and is not simply copying it.

Francesca is not a pastiche or an homage film, it does not borrow from the giallo subgenre, and it is a giallo.  It’s that UFO of a a film that hits all the right notes and reminds the viewer why they love the subgenre and that so many filmmakers can’t seem to make giallos no matter how hard they try.  It’s not trying to be a giallo, it IS a giallo.  The film is also entertaining with a bit of a crazy storyline.