Opera | Movie Review

Called in to replace an opera singer who is the victim of an accident (not accidental, we will find out), Betty makes her debut singing for Macbeth in the Teatro Regio in Parma, to great acclaim from the audience and critics. During the performance, a Theater usher is killed and thrown from a stage, and the crime is misconstrued as an accident.
Betty finds herself alone with her lover, the young assistant director, while someone, wearing a hood, grabs her from behind, gags her and then ties her to a pillar. A series of pins, held together by duct tape, are placed under the eyelids of the bewildered Betty who, thus coiffed, cannot help but witness the havoc wrought on the unsuspecting boy who, taken by surprise by the murderer, has his throat literally slit.
It is the beginning of a nightmare as, more and more often, the maniac subjects Betty to witness, helpless, brutal and bloody murders.

Even the Theater's seamstress, who finds a bracelet lost by the killer while raging on "stage" crows, is horribly slit under the gaze of the helpless singer.
Meanwhile, an ambiguous police commissioner in charge of the investigation places Betty under escort, sending Officer Daniele Soave to the girl's home.
While law enforcement investigations lead nowhere, the theater director is enlightened by an idea: to release crows into the theater during a performance of Macbeth, which, mindful of being attacked, pounce on the murderer, tearing out his eye.
The killer's madness stems from a morbid sadomasochistic relationship he once experienced with Betty's mother: she, a bloodthirsty sadist, would only indulge after a heinous crime.
After the death of his lover, the murderer believed he would find, in his daughter, the same love/death drives.
Let's say it now, for the avoidance of doubt, Opera is a beautiful film. It is made with great accuracy (this was a nearly 10 billion Rai co-production at the time) and the film's incipit borders on perfection and the shots. Even the most seemingly skewed and out-of-focus shots are the result of Argento's deliberate manic staging.
The crows' subjective, for which a majestic crane was erected inside the theater, is a rare piece of great Italian cinema. As great cinema is the murder of Myra (Daria Nicolodi), pierced by a bullet exploded through a door peephole.

But-but something in the course of watching the film does not convince. It may be the cold and unsentimental performance of Barberini (who from the very first appearance is understood to be the murderer), it may be the uncertain and unconvinced appearance of Marsillach.
Or perhaps the dialogues, those dialogues (Argento's work, in concert with Franco Ferrini) that leave you dumbfounded at certain moments ("Do you want it? Do you want it? It's yours! Come and get him!" cries Cataldi as she is chased by the killer; "I didn't do anything, I just wanted the soul out of them!" proclaims the killer in the delirious finale, hunted by the police).
And then that unbelievable turn, senseless and unrelated to verisimilitude, of the dummy thrown into the flames, and discovered as such, after a week of police investigation.

, therefore, must be approached solely and exclusively on a visual level: for it is on this level of "interpretation" that the film rises to the apotheosis of the most visceral spectacle. Those images that strike the stomach and lead into the labyrinths of the dream/nightmare, where there is -because it cannot be reconciled- no rationalization, no meaning.

Murder, in short, as one of the "fine arts"-no more, no less.
Opera presents, on the "hidden narrative" plan that the director has been pursuing for years, several similarities with Darkness: here a "sadistic" theater director, there an author of violent books.
In Darkness, the murderer commits the crimes following the plot of the book, and thus -by translation- the director himself seems to want to communicate to us that he is an author of an author who, in an endless circle, produces death. In Opera, the theater director is the simulacrum of the missed director of the Macerata Sferisterio (where Argento was supposed to shoot Rigoletto but was later banned from it).

Of note is the presence, in a small role, of the character actor Franco Diogenes (as later in the Stendhal Syndrome), one of those faces you see in every movie, despite the forgetfulness of the name.
Meta-final in the film, set in Switzerland, with callbacks to the earlier Phenomena And unraveling the trick of "wire flies."
Some trivia about the alleged "curse of Macbeth": before filming began, the part of Betty was to be played by actress Giuliana De Sio, who came to clash bitterly with the director over not being given the role.
While working on the film, the Guardia di Finanza engaged in an investigation into the consumption of "narcotics" raids Argento and Nicolodi's house and finds several grams of hashish. For two days, Argento and his partner remain locked up in jail.
- Review by Undying1 -


Opera, the celebrated thriller/horror film directed by Dario Argento in 1987, is available on DVD and Blu-ray with CG Entertainment. The two formats, packed with extra content, are available starting September 7, 2017 along with the special collector's edition (limited, numbered and containing the DVD, Blu-ray and a 120-page booklet).

The Blu-ray edition offered by CG Etertainment is remarkable. The well-kept amaray, with interior artwork, is embellished by the beautiful cover realiazed by Malleus. Impeccable audio/video compartments and exhaustive is the very rich and curated section dedicated to special contents.
Undoubtedly, this is a palatable edition that should not be missing from the collection of horror film lovers.
Blu-ray Edition:
VIDEO: HD 1080 24p 16/9 2.35:1
LENGTH: 107′
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0 Italian, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Italian, Dolby Digital 2.0 English, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 English
SUBTITLES: Italian, Italian for the Deaf.
EXTRA: Il maestro dell'Opera, meeting with Dario Argento; La scrittura dell'Opera, meeting with Franco Ferrini; La visione dell'Opera, meeting with Giovanni Gebbia; Il ritmo dell'Opera, meeting with Claudio Simonetti; L'Opera al nero, meeting with Michele Soavi and Barbara Cupisti; L'organizzazione dell'Opera, meeting with Alessandro Calosci and Tino Polenghi; Kill me Francesca!, meeting with Francesca Cassola; L'Opera in super 8, flying on the wings of crows; Inside Opera, behind the scenes of the film.

also read

January 2022: horror movies in theaters

This month's movie schedule at the cinema includes...

Prey: the teaser trailer of the Predator prequel

Online the first trailer for Prey (USA - 2022),...

Deathgasm among new horror films from Netflix Italy

Among the new horror films from Netflix Italy is already...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!