julie christie and donald sutherland travel to venice after the tragic death of their young daughter. the venice they encounter becomes a decaying maze of psychological expression for their grief.
nicolas roeg repeatedly frames figures in doorways and arches. on the one hand this serves to illustrate that these characters are very much in the in between- on the threshold of something and some place. grieving yet struggling to find joy, seeking their daughter and yet reconciling the loss of her. venice itself is very much that transitionary space. it haunts them and still offers the mysterious possibility of moving forward.
it also seems to me that the framing devices in don't look now emerge as a sort of self reflexive mediation on film itself. the slow moving red blood like paint on the slide of the church appears as a frame within the frame. the effect is a distanciation from the narrative of the movie. we become aware of the constructedness of the film. that this mysterious force at work within the film is in fact tearing it apart. i found the initial appearance of this moment to be quite disconcerting, chilling even. and when it happens a second time, the sense of dread and urgency is even stronger.
what i find most compelling about don't look now, is that little explanation is offered by way of the terrible things that happen. death is tragic and there are dark forces at work in the world which do not at all make sense. this simply, is meant to b a jarring realization.
also, how amazing is this original movies poster? it perfectly sets the tone of the film.
stills from don't look now directed by nicolas roeg 1973