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ANIMA PERSA (1977)

aka Forbidden Room
Article 3402 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-26-2010
Posting Date: 12-7-2010
Directed by Dino Risi
Featuring Vittorio Gassman, Catherine Deneuve, Danilo Mattei
Country: Italy / France
What it is: Drama/mystery with touches of horror

A young aspiring artist goes to Venice to study, and moves in with his aunt and uncle.  He discovers a room in their dilapidated mansion, and in that room is a family secret...

This movie seemed to have an unusually high-powered cast for what seems on the surface a fairly hackneyed story of the mad-relative-in-the-attic variety. However, I don't feel like I'm engaging in spoilers by giving away that plot element; the movie itself reveals that information early enough that it doesn't give away the ending.  Of course, by giving away that information early on, the movie clues you in that there's more here than the familiar scenario, and sure enough, you find yourself given bits and pieces of backstory that really starts to pique your interest.  You seen get caught up in the various mysteries; what drove the relative mad?  What was the actual fate of the aunt's daughter?  Why is the aunt so scared of the uncle?  The solution is complex and very sad.  In the end, it's more of a drama than a horror movie, but the theme of madness is prevalent.  All in all, this one is fairly interesting.

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