The Stendhal Syndrome

In case, like me, you’ve never heard the title expression before, it refers to the psychological phenomenon of a work of art making the spectator swoon (which is apparently more common overseas). Italian horror director Dario Argento characteristically uses this condition as a pretext for fancy visual cadenzas, as a police detective who’s especially susceptible to paintings (the director’s daughter, Asia) tries to track down a serial rapist and killer, and they’re the main reason for seeing this poorly acted, over-the-top, and generally out-of-control bloodbath (1996, 114 min.). With Thomas Kretschmann. (JR)

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