Available on DVD !
To buy, click on link(s) below and help keep this site afloat
Always make sure of DVD-compatibility !!!
Police detective Anna Manni (Asia Argento) is trying to track town a
rapist/killer, & her trail leads her from Rome to Florence, where she is to
meet the killer in the Ufficies Gallery ... instead she becomes so lost int he
works of art exhibited n the gallery that she thinks she is actually entering
them, & she faints in the process (this condition is called the Stendhal
Syndrome, hence the title).
Waking up, she suffers from memory loss, but
is lucky enough to meet Alfredo (Thomas Kretschmann), who helps her find the
adress of her hotel & pays her fare for the taxi ... of course later
that night Alfredo shows his true colours when he enters her hotelroom &
brutally rapes her until she faints. Then he drags the unconscious Anna out
into his car, & rapes a woman (Sonia Topazio) next to her, whom he shoots
once Anna wakes up again ...
Later, back in Rome, with her memory restored,
Anna finds it difficult to adjust to her life, her job & most of all her
boyfriend Marco (Marco Longhi), whom she at one point tries to rape (!) ...
of her problems, her psychiatrist Dr Cavanna (Paolo Bonacelli) suggests that
Anna takes some time off to spend with her family in a little village not far
from home, to which she agrees, even though she doesn't really get along with
her narrow-minded father (John Quentin) & her brothers have a talent of
getting on her nerves ... & then of course she is convinced that
rapist/killer Alfredo will come back to her ...
Of course Anna is right, as
soon in the village a shop assistant (Lucia Stara) is found raped &
murdered, & een the 2 cops guarding her front door can't stop Alfredo from
kidnapping Anna one night, abducting her to an abandoned warehouse covered in
grafitti (also works of art in a sense) to use her strange condition (the
Stendhal Syndrome) against her, tying her to a matress, & there he
repeatedly rapes her.
Again though, Alfredo refrains from killing Anna,
instead leaves her tied to the matress during the day, to come back the next
night for more fun & games. But Anna has used the day to free herself &
when Alfredo wgain wants to have his way with Anna, she rams 2 springs from the
matress into his throat.
A violent fight ensues, at the end of which Anna
shoots Alfredo into the stomach & throws him into the nearby river ...
while Anna tries to return to her normal life, Alfredo's body is never fond,
& she soon becomes convinced - against the beliefs of everyone else - that
Alfredo is still alive just waiting to get back at her ...
Soon, Anna meets
Marie (Julien Lambroschini), a (male) French art student, & the 2 become
lovers ... until one day anna receives a phonecall from Alfredo threatening to
kill Marie out of jealousy - but again, nobody but Anna believes that it was
really Alfredo calling. Marie is shot nevertheless.
A few days later,
Alfredo's dead body is actually found in the river, & he mast have been
dead for quite some time (actually since Anna has killed him), which rather
rules him out for killing Marie.
Psychiatrist Cavanna visits Anna to find out
the truth anbout Marie's death ... & gets shot by Anna as a reward for it.
who stops by finds the body in Anna's flat & now realizes what has been
going on, that Anna has been killing Cavanna & Marie because she thinks she
has, by killing Alfredo, taken over his personality (which was actually a
defense mechanism to deal with all her negative experiences). Foolishly though
Marco thinks he has calmed her down to take her into custody, only to be killed
by her himself ...
Only then is Anna apprehended by the police - her own
colleagues actually - who have since gotten onto her trail.
cinematic inventiveness, Stendhal Syndrome (or anything Dario Argento
hads done since, say, 1985) is of course no match for his classics from the
1970's (e.g. Suspiria, Inferno,
Profondo Rosso), it does however feature a very interesting plot (which
was not always the case in Argento's classics) that takes quite a few unusual
twists & turns, & the almost lyrical cinematic style Argento uses for
this movie does correspond nicely with the story (that, after all, does deal
with the arts). A reasonable portion of suspense of course doesn't hurt either,
so all this results in maybe not a typical Dario-Argento-movie (but let's face
it, there are enough of those already) but certainly his best 1990's movie.