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Monday, June 20, 2022
The Paris Opera House—conjured by Argento on a studio set in Hungary—is alive and overrun with rats in this full-throated adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s gothic classic. Here, the Byronic Phantom (Julian Sands) is outwardly handsome, and instantly attractive to young singer Christine (Asia Argento). He also happens to have been raised by rats, and is perhaps a little too comfortable in their company. Argento and his co-writer Gérard Brach (Repulsion, The Tenant) contrast the elusive nature of the central pair’s relationship with the compulsive behavior of István Bubik’s Rat Catcher. Argento was inspired to add Bubik’s grubby villain to Leroux’s narrative after he, in real life, spotted a rat in the Paris Opera’s research library. Featuring a score by Ennio Morricone, Argento’s Phantom of the Opera is his most unabashedly romantic chiller to date. 4K digital restoration by Cinecittà.