Pictorial imagery, camerawork, and soundtrack in Dario Argento’s Deep Red

Article English OPEN
Giusti, Giulio L. (2015)
  • Publisher: De Gruyter Open
  • Journal: Acta Universitatis Sapientiae: Film and Media Studies (issn: 2066-7779)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1515/ausfm-2015-0021
  • Subject: excessiveness of imagery and sound | Dario Argento | Deep Red | Visual arts | trompe-l’oeil | N1-9211 | American hyperrealism

This article re-engages with existing scholarship identifying Deep Red (Profondo rosso, 1975) as a typical example within Dario Argento’s body of work in which the Italian horror-meister fully explores a distinguishing pairing of the acoustic and the iconic through an effective combination of elaborate camerawork and disjunctive music and sound. Specifically, this article seeks to complement these studies by arguing that such a stylistic and technical achievement in the film is also rendered by Argento’s use of a specific art-historical repertoire, which not only reiterates the Gesamtkunstwerk-like complexity of the director’s audiovisual spectacle, but also serves to transpose the film’s narrative over a metanarrative plane through pictorial techniques and their possible interpretations. The purpose of this article is, thus, twofold. Firstly, I shall discuss how Argento’s references to American Hyperrealism in painting are integrated into Deep Red’s spectacles of death through colour, framing, and lighting and the extent to which such references allow us to undertake a more in-depth analysis of the director’s style in terms of referentiality and cinematic intermediality. Secondly, I will demonstrate how and to what extent in the film Argento manages to break down the epistemological system of knowledge and to disrupt the reasonable order of traditional storytelling through the technique of the trompe-l’oeil in painting. By doing this, I shall evidence that in Deep Red Argento develops his story through the medium of complex camerawork, disjunctive soundtrack, evocative imaginary and symbolic repertoire, which in some sequences completely replace the dialogues and the narrative devices in a powerfully evocative blend.\ud \ud Keywords: Dario Argento, Deep Red, excessiveness of imagery and sound, American Hyperrealism, trompe-l’oeil
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