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La Donna del Lago

The Possessed
Love, Hate and Dishonor / The Lady of the Lake

Italy 1965
produced by
Manolo Bolognini for B.R.C. Produzione, Istituto Luce
directed by Luigi Bazzoni, Franco Rossellini
starring Peter Baldwin, Salvo Randone, Valentina Cortese, Pia Lindström, Pier Giovanni Anchisi, Ennio Balbo, Anna Maria Gherardi, Bruno Scipioni, Mario Laurentino, Vittorio Duse, Philippe Leroy, Virna Lisi
screenplay by Giulio Questi, Luigi Bazzoni, Franco Rossellini, based on a novel by Giovanni Comisso, music by Renzo Rossellini

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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During off-season, writer Bernard (Peter Baldwin) returns to a little village by a lake where the last time, Tilde (Virna Lisi), maid at the hotel he staid in, took his fancy. But Tilde's not there anymore, and it takes him quite a bit of investigating to find out that Tilde has died since - most say it was suicide because of an unwanted pregnancy, but eventually Bernard learns that her throat was slit, which suggests murder, apparently. The whole thing has been hushed up though, and the only (vague) clue here leads to Enrico (Salvo Randone), a once mighty man in town who owns the hotel Bernard stays in, but both his reputation and the hotel are in decline. Then Bernard receives messages from Adriana (Pia Lindström), the catatonic wife of Enrico's son Mario, who wants to meet him at night at the lake to give him some important information, but then when he's supposed to meet her, she's found floating in the lake, dead. Apparently, this only deepens the mystery, and soon Bernard has no idea anymore if he himself will get out of it alive ...


In a handful of sources, I've seen The Possessed be labelled "proto-giallo" - and I think this at least somewhat misses the point. That's not to say that giallo fans won't like this movie, after all it's a pretty convoluted murder mystery with a conclusion nobody saw coming ... it's just also so much more, it's a melancholic mood piece, an incredibly sad, unfulfilled love story, a twisted morality play, as well as an almost abstract deconstruction of the whodunnit genre as such. And being all that, it's much less of a simple genre movie and much more of a highly original work of art that really has to be experienced rather than just watched, and it sure is a fascinating ride!


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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