An early post tonight, because I managed to find a 90 minute window before getting ready for work.
Footprints marks the second dreamlike giallo in a row. Death Laid an Egg is one of those batshit crazy dreams, where anything can and does happen. Footprints, however, is one of those slow burn types that builds an atmosphere in a slow, claustrophobic manner.
We open on the moon. An astronaut is dragging another astronaut's body across the surface, laying him down. The first astronaut boards his spaceship and leaves the other one behind as he wakes up and realizes what happened.
Cut to Alice (Florinda Bolkan) waking up in her apartment. It was all a dream.
When she arrives at work, she finds out she actually lost three days. The boss cans her, as this seems to be the final straw.
Back at home, Alice finds a torn postcard of a hotel. The hotel is in a town called Garma. Well, since she has no job anyway, and she thinks the hotel may be linked to the days she can't remember, she goes to Garma.
When she arrives, she meets Paula (Nicoletta Elmi, the Dakota Fanning of 70's gialli). Paula recognizes Alice, but says Alice's name is Nicole. As Alice investigates further, everybody in the area recognizes her...as Nicole.
What's going on? Does Alice have a split personality? A doppelganger? A Klaus Kinski fetish?
I still don't know. I think I missed something.
Anyhow, the film is pure atmosphere. I often have dreams where I'm in a mashup of all the houses I've ever lived in, going down long hallways that never end with all sorts of familiar rooms that aren't quite what they really were. Footprints is like one of those dreams. Not much really happens, but a sense of dread manifests and permeates throughout the picture.
This is mainly accomplished through the cinematography and the score, which is amazing. Nicola Piovani's music crawls into your head and once it's there, it burrows into your subconscious. Great work, maestro.
If I were to compare this to another giallo, I would compare it to Perfume of the Lady in Black. However, I will say that Perfume is more engaging, while Footprints' mystery is more frustrating.
Maybe in a while, I'll revisit this and see what I missed.