A Modern Giallo Movie

Although it has been a while, Color of the Day makes its triumphant return in honor of the color yellow.  A few minutes of research has revealed that the brightest color in the rainbow spectrum oftentimes get the short end of the stick: it is associated with sickness, aging, sensational journalism (yellow journalism), caution, cowards and in China, porn (take your pick on whether that qualifies is getting the short end of the stick or not).

But, leave it to the Italians to give dear yellow (or giallo as they call it) something exciting to be associated with: thrillers.  In Italy, yellow/giallo refers to crime stories, both fictional and real (stemming from the fact that in the 1930’s the first crime novels were published with yellow covers).  From the giallo books came the giallo movies, and this is where yellow art really developed.

Giallo films are horror at its finest: lots of blood, great camera work, captivating music as well as dramatic elements from Italy’s operatic tradition (and of course sex and nudity ).  Other common elements?  Paranoia, madness, alienation.

Wait a minute… blood, great camera work, captivating music, the drama of opera, paranoia, madness, alienation…. this is starting to sound a lot like the Black Swan!

It is hard to imagine Darren Aronofsky wasn’t influenced by giallo films when he dreamt up Oscar darling the Black Swan.  Well, one giallo film in particular comes to mind: Suspiria by the one and only Dario Argento.

Suspiria by Dario Argento

In Suspiria, Argento’s 1977 horror thriller, we experience the plight of an American ballet student who transfers to a dance school in Germany.  After experiencing several creepy, supernatural events, she starts to think the dance school is run by witches… lots of running, screaming, dancing and blood-letting ensue.  If you like great lighting, music and old school horror, Suspiria is for you.

So, it turns out little old yellow may have been partly responsible for one of the biggest movies of the year.  Not bad yellow, not bad.

Learn from the masters and watch your art develop.  Hey, it worked for Aronofsky.


*If you haven’t seen the Black Swan, you should.  Natalie Portman deserves the praise. Suspiria is available on netflix or amazon.

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