Francesca

I love giallo. It’s a genre very dear to my heart that does a lot of what I love in film. The soundtracks are incredible. The imagery is stunning. The plots all walk a perfectly fine line between cliched tropes and unexpected twists. Some of my absolute favourite films came from this golden era of Italian film-making – from the likes of Argento, Bava, Fulci

In recent years there’s been a gentle revival of interest in the genre. Thankfully it’s not been too wholehearted – I don’t know how I’d have reacted to a mainstream American love for the giallo in the way the Walking Dead has done with zombie films. Instead, its been mostly indie films and niche genre pieces that have returned to the giallo. Cattet and Forzani’s two features Amer and The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears are amongst my favourite films of the last few years. Despite this, they’re without doubt sophisitcated reinterpretations of giallo. They have all the stylistic quirks – the leather glove, the singsong soundtrack, the knife, the nightmare, the heavily-mascared eyes – but they play upon all of these to create more complicated, nuanced stoy lines.

How refreshing then to find film-makers taking the giallo film head-on, warts-and-all, in all its glory. Francesca was made last year, but you wouldn’t know it. The film looks aged, the soundtrack clangs and scrapes, the plot is absurd yet chilling, the violence is gruesome and sudden, the police are incompetent and slow. It ticks all the boxes.

If you don’t already love giallo I find it hard to imagine that you’ll be bowled over by this. If you do, though, this is a treat. Martin Grund, the lead fanomenen programmer, described it as “the kind of film you wish Argento was still making”. If you know what that sentence means, I imagine you’ll love this.

Drinks
Kirkstall Dissolution Extra IPA, another of my favourite beers. The Hyde Park really does have a well stocked bar.

They Call Me Jeeg Robot

Have I just picked out all the weird ones? Maybe. Maybe that was deliberate. They don’t come a whole lot weirder than …Jeeg Robot. Here we take the classic superhero tropes, chew them up, spit them out, and then start all over again. Enzo is a small time crook, pinching watches here and there. He sells them to support his er… yoghurt and porn habits. So far, so odd.

With the help of a little radioactive waste though, Enzo develops some startling powers. This isn’t an immediate conversion to good though – Enzo quickly gathers a reputation as the ‘supercriminal’. Along the way though, he teams up with the lost, vulnerable daughter of his criminal friend. Alessia is obsessed with the (real) Japanese manga ‘Steel Jeeg’ and, babbling away about the cave of fire, convinces Enzo that he may well just be the hero of the series.

Outside of the superhero fun we get a whole lot of good and gritty violence. Local mental criminal ‘The Gypsy’, heartset on fame and notoriety, is a nasty piece of work – battering minions and enemies alike. Superhero films typically tidy away all the nasty bits in favour of cartoon violence. Not so here. This is a refreshingly violent superhero film and it all just works.

Drinks
Goose Island IPA. Another good one. It’s a pretty commonly available one, but none the worse for it.