Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Giulietta of the Spirits

Wherefore Art-Vows?

I don't know what to write about this film that was so formative to my early years in cinephilia. The images of course, the colors, the occult intimations whereby the natural world dances with the supernatural — one is a flicker away from the other; an anniversary dinner is substituted with a makeshift séance. Visibility of the interior and the exterior, which the colors serve to underscore. Faces half-cloaked in shadow.

Perhaps though now I understand it as Stuart Heisler subtitled his brilliant 1947 film Smash-Up: "the story of a woman." Giulietta of the Spirits [Giulietta degli spiriti, 1965] (not "Juliet of the Spirits" — a name is a name / a woman is a woman) x-rays sexual anxiety and desirability in middle-age, and explores through the twisted '65 era what it means to be a wife. A marriage happy and unhappy. Ambivalence. A private eye who claims to always go "in disguise," yet always wears the costume? of a priest. There's mocking virginal white. There's a kimono.

Says the Professore: "I'm just another of your inventions — but you are life itself." 


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