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Title: Artistic imagery in Dario Argento's cinema
Author: Giusti, Giulio
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis focuses on the work of Dario Argento, a filmmaker whose cinematic style and use of technology have helped popularise Italian Horror both domestically and internationally. Specifically, this analysis engages with Argento’s use of an art-historical repertoire within his cinema, namely the appropriation of architectural, pictorial, and sculptural references, and argues for their importance in terms of reading the main films that constitute my primary corpus. Existing research has only sporadically and superficially treated this area and no systematic survey has been undertaken. The purpose of my analysis is twofold. Firstly, I discuss how art-historical references are integrated into Argento’s oeuvre via copying and quotation, and how they function in the film texts in terms of colour, framing, and lighting. Secondly, I explore whether the iconographic and symbolic processes through which this art-historical repertoire is enacted form a strict bond with the film’s narrative texture. In doing so, my research delivers a broad range of analysis, from narrative to stylistic detail, through an intra-artistic methodological approach. My corpus comprises four different films spanning across Argento’s career: Profondo rosso (1975), Suspiria (1977), La sindrome di Stendhal (1996), and Il fantasma dell’Opera (1998). These films have been selected for two specific reasons. On the one hand, they are the ones containing the greatest number of artistic references. On the other hand, they take into consideration a variety of aesthetic qualities and narrative solutions that, combined together, provide an exhaustive overview of the director’s artistic imagination. Other films from Argento’s forty-year-long career are cited in relation to the aesthetic and thematic affinities with the primary corpus. Because of my intra-artistic approach, which takes in both Argento’s attention to aesthetic detail and to the synergy of the aesthetic and the narrative within a film through the art historical repertoire, I highlight a new aspect of the semantic, stylistic, and technical complexity of the director’s cinema in terms of influence, referentiality, and intertextuality.
Supervisor: Billiani, Francesca; Milner, Stephen Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available