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Q&A with Dario Argento on June 19, moderated by author and Film Comment contributor Maitland McDonagh
As he did in Rome for Tenebrae, Argento manipulated locations in Zürich to produce an uncanny sense of place with Phenomena, a paranormal-tinged giallo set in an alternate ’80s, ostensibly decades after Nazi Germany had won World War II. Jennifer Connelly stars as a sleepwalking, telepathic 14-year-old who, while attending a remote Swiss boarding school named after Richard Wagner, teams up with a forensic entomologist (Donald Pleasence) and his nurse—a trained chimpanzee named Inga—to investigate a string of brutal murders. One of Argento’s finer and stranger films, Phenomena (often cited among his personal favorites) marked a radical departure for the director, who combined the bloodiest trappings of his previous gialli and the supernatural insanity of his “Three Mothers” films into something altogether more outré. 4K digital restoration by Cinecittà.