Starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland in his afro period this movie was a pleasant surprise to me. Well acted and set in beautiful Venice, its a clever exploration of grief and relationships. Its probably not considered a horror flick by some people, but the tragedy this couple experiences is horrific and the depiction of subsequent events is poignant. So I personally find it a very sophisticated expression of horror themes.
Laura and John are trying to resume their life after a tragic accident takes their child. He resumes his church restoration work in Italy and she accompanies him. They are not at odds per se but she is still struggling with the loss while he seems to have accepted it and gone back to work.
Christie is amazing as the heartbroken mother and has impeccable style.
Then she befriends two women in a restaurant.The two sisters, one blind with clairvoyant ability, provide much-needed comfort to her by discussing her daughter and relating messages from beyond that she is fine and its okay for Laura to move on. But their presence is eery and there is a witch-y quality to their behavior. John is concerned about their influence and is reminded that he has also had some premonitory experiences.
Sutherland and Christie work well together here, emotionally and physically. It is well known for a very graphic love scene that really expressed this couple’s passion for one another despite the pain and mystery that seems to be pulling them apart.
Besides the personal struggle, Venice is plagued by a crime spree and John is haunted by an elusive figure in red, adding layers upon layers of intrigue.
The labyrinthine Venice canals symbolize the different paths these 2 take in overcoming the pain of their daughter’s death. It also adds a frightening dimension in the final scenes when the nagging mystery comes to a head.
An amazing experience to watch. I was concerned that its subtlety might bore me, on the contrary I was riveted.