1941-1950ClassicsDramaItalian Cinema under FascismItalyMario Soldati

Mario Soldati – Malombra (1942)


Like Piccolo mondo antico, Malombra is a film set in a grandiose, but a bit crowded aristocratic house, which is itself squashed between the beautiful, but deadly see, and the stolid, un-romantic mountains. A claustrophobic space with no escapes, a space of directionless hauntings and self-induced psychosis. Also, of course, a space of late, musty fascism. The reality of the second world war and the twilight of the Mussollini era is never directly alluded to, but it seems to penetrate all walls, clothes, the flesh itself.

A revenge film in which the hunter’s consistently much more confused and scared than the hunted. A mystery film about ghosts unsure who to haunt, and why. But with an absolute, unflinching will to haunt. A literary adaption about an author caught up in a trap he might have set himself. Maybe also a film about a director caught up in his own ornamental stylization. I really don’t know what to make of this after just one viewing, it might just be a masterpiece of lurid escapism. On the other hand I longed for the energy of something like Freda’s Aquila nera almost all the time.

A piano muffled by the secret messages clamped between its strings might still produce beautiful music, sometimes…

— dirtylaundri (Letterboxd)


Subtitles:English, Russian, Italian (muxed)

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