Bloodstained Butterfly, The / Una farfalla con le ali insanguinate (1971)

4.5 out of 5

For all the “Bravo!” levied at Dario Argento’s most painterly of Gialli, it’s something of a shame that the comprehensive and downright algorithmic works of Duccio Tessari remain buried in the popular opinion of Italian Genre/Art House.

Like Argento, Tessari embraced a psycho-constructivist aspect to cinema. The Bloodstained Butterfly is a wonderful case in point.

From the proto post-modernist opening sequence, aided and abetted by Gianni Ferrio’s coy cool; Tchaikovsky’s emotive big hitter and a devlish play on diegesis, to the complex colour coda and sophisticated swing of mise-en-scène on hand, this rich Giallo immerses itself in a dream like pool of Time and Space. Truth and Non-Truth.

Fine performances from sexy Helmut Berger and the reliable Silvano Tranquilli push the narrative out of the clouds, into what proved to be a fine example of Tessari’s skill in cross-pollinating cinematic logic to a myriad of generic principles.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics