Venice, with its meandering, maze-like pathways, ancient canals and decadent palaces seems like a perfect backdrop for tales of the mysterious and macabre.
Adapted from a story by Daphne du Maurier and directed by cutting-edge Australian director (of such films as WALKABOUT) Nicholas Roeg, DON’T LOOK NOW is an atmospheric tale mixing psychological horror and the occult against Venice’s exotic and romantic locale.
A couple played by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie are haunted by the loss of their daughter, recently drowned in an accident.
The husband takes work in Venice on a church restoration project. But why does he see glimpses of things that may be the future, or the past, including a tiny red-coated figure that may or may not be the specter of his lost daughter?
The couple become involved with a pair of elderly sisters, one of whom is blind and apparently psychic, who claims the couples’ daughter is trying to communicate with them. The husband has a vision of his wife with the two sisters on a funeral barge with a coffin.
Will these strange forces, and the force of their shared grief, threaten the couple’s marriage? Or their lives? And who is the figure in the red coat that seems to be drawing the husband on to some unforeseen fate?
With Roeg’s trademark fractured editing style and its detached, elliptical approach to storytelling, not to mention an in-your-face explicit lovemaking sequence that raised eyebrows at the time, DON’T LOOK NOW is a fascinating, sometimes challenging viewing experience, well worth checking out.