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April 1998, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Scott Hutchins <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 7 Apr 1998 13:39:16 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (36 lines)
Michele Soavi's film, _Dellamorte Dellamore_ (known in the US as _Cemetery
Man_) is truly a mindbending film.  In many ways he was consiously
emulating _Jules et Jim_, but to an extent it makes the former look like a
feminist film (I'm guessing he broke up with his actress-girlfriend,
Barbara Cupisti, (as it's the only one of his films she's not in) and was
mad at her).
It involves a man named Francesco Dellamorte (Rupert Everett) who has some
really strange mental problems, which lead you to wonder if he's not just
imagining the dead are coming back to life in his cemetery.  He wants so
badly for a woman to love him that he even tries to get his doctor to
Bobbitt him, for a very sexist interpretation of a rape victim.  (The
three women Dellamorte is attracted to in the film are all played by Anna
Falchi).  When he accidentally kills the first one, beliving her to have
been killed by his zombified ex-husband, and realizes that she was not
a risen dead, the grim reaper statue comes to life and tells him the only
way he can stop the dead from returning to life is by shooting the living
in the head, which he does.  He ends up in a hospital, which is viewed
from above to reveal it as an artificial construct, and what isn't made to
look unreal has a surreal, Tim Burton look, and quite an escape from the
style of soavi's mentor, Dario Argento.  Like _Jules et Jim_ in its
misogyny, it also has the same drift from the comic to the serious.  It
begins as a bad camp horror film, and ends as a surreal psychological
study, but there is an even and very deliberate shift between the two, not
carelessness of filmmaking.  As offensive as Soavi's treatment of women
may be, it is still a fascinating film.  Second-billed Francois
Hadji-Lazzaro doesn't say a word other than a grunt until the end of the
film, when it seems the world, or at least Dellmorte's world, has come to
an end.
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