Posted on Monday, January 4th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
In much the same way that House of the Devil was an underground sensation in 2009, I expect that the Belgian film Amer will be one of the arthouse talking points of 2010. Like House of the Devil, Amer has a stylish throwback poster and revels in a bygone filmmaking style. This time, the style is giallo — the atmospheric thriller mode popularized by filmmakers like Dario Argento.
In this case, filmmakers Bruno Forzani and Helene Cattet seem to be taking their exhumation of the giallo further than Ti West did when he attacked the early ’80s horror film, and after seeing this teaser I’m dying to know if the experiment actually works.
Twitch has the trailer, and from what I can tell by taking in reviews from the film’s premiere at the Sitges film fest in Spain last year, this clip is actually quite representative of the full film. When he reviewed the film at Sitges, Twitch’s Todd Brown said it was “less concerned with plot than with sensation,” which could be said of many classic examples of giallo, which has always been a style that focuses on sensory overload.
The film is largely dialogue-free, and follows three stages in the life of a woman named Ana. We see her childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and in each period the defining experience is that of being watched. Brown gushed about the film’s overall effect:
…driven by brilliantly lush and complex sound design, Amer perfectly captures the feel and editing style of the original classic giallo pictures without ever becoming precious or coy about the exercise…This is not mimicry but a performance from a stunningly talented pair of young directors who have mastered a lost language and made it purely and entirely their own.
I expect this to be just as divisive as House of the Devil, if not moreso, but the images on display have me on the hook for now.