Whenever a movie comes out, it’s normally and usually defined by the genre it spawned from, but when a film isn’t confined or narrowed down to the typical properties or conventions of its genre, then it doesn’t help the fact that the genre term doesn’t really do much to describe that film, which is the case with the genre term of “giallo”. Even though there’s mystery and intrigue with the crime element at its very core, that’s really all there is to best describe The Bloodstained Butterfly. It is one of the most unusual giallo’s ever made as it is far more serious than one might expect from a film of this type, and the ‘in your face’ graphic violence is notable by its absence.

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This could’ve made the whole film much less fun as a result, especially given the fact that there are a lot of scenes that revolves around police procedures and courtroom trials, which in particular if done wrong can be seen as completely dull and ludicrous (looking at you Broadchurch Series 2!). Yet, for the most part, it works and you intrigues and involved as soon as the killings start. The story is told in a linear fashion, and this will no doubt create puzzlement to audiences, and even hardocre giallo fans, but that doesn’t detract from how well this keeps the mystery of these characters and the lives they inhabit, which all adds to the intrigue and complexity of the central mystery and the superb performances from the entire cast helps manage to not spoil the whole game. The pacing is solid as there are no signs of atrocious editing or uneven narrative contrivances, despite the twists and turns the story takes. Gianni Ferrio’s music is dramatically operatic and moody, and Carlo Carlini’s cinematography is vibrant and sumptuous to look at.

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The Bloodstained Butterfly is one of the most stylish, if unusual, giallo films to have been made. Duccio Tessari’s direction and clear vision helps sustain the mystery all the way through, only to cap it all off with an operatic finale that succeeds in breaking the mould of standard, stereotypical crime dramas. Even if you are unacquainted to the world of giallo, then this film could provide the perfect entrance for newcomers and is worth picking up when you are able to.

3.5/5

 

Dir: Duccio Tessari

Scr: Duccio Tessari, Gianfranco Clerici

Cast: Helmut Berger, Ida Galli, Giancarlo Sbragia, Wendy D’Olive, Silvano Tranquilli, Carole André

DOP: Carlo Carlini

Music: Giannt Ferrio

Country: Italy

Year: 1971

Run time: 95 mins

 

The Bloodstained Butterfly is available to own on DVD by August 22nd.

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