Le Orme (1975)

Genres - Romance  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - Italy  |  
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Italian filmmaker Luigi Bazzoni (Giornata Nera per l'Ariete) directed this stylish and surrealistic giallo thriller reminiscent of such paranoid classics of the form as Il Profumo della Signora in Nero and Tutti i Colori del Buio. Florinda Bolkan stars as a translator named Alice Cespi, whose life is falling apart due to strange memories from childhood when she was forced to watch a film called "Footprints on the Moon" involving an unethical experiment in leaving astronauts stranded on the moon's surface. Alice has terrible dreams and begins to become addicted to tranquilizers, desperate to shake surreal visions such as being chased across a beach by fully attired astronauts. The drugs and her deteriorating mental condition cause her to miss work and she is eventually fired, whereupon she travels to a dilapidated former tourist area called Garma after receiving a mysterious postcard. There, she runs into a girl named Paula Burton (Nicoletta Elmi from Profondo Rosso), who tells her that she looks exactly like another woman, Nicole, currently staying at the faded resort. Alice then encounters a series of strange people and circumstances, all leading her closer to unlocking the possibly deadly mystery. Shot by award-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now), the film -- based on Mario Fenelli's novel Las Huerras -- uses its haunting settings and Alice's disorienting visions to create an air of sustained dread. Peter McEnery co-stars with Ida Galli (aka Evelyn Stewart), Klaus Kinski, and Lila Kedrova. Various available versions run from 88 to 110 minutes, with substantial variations in tone and effectiveness.