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Stendhal Syndrome

Stendhal Syndrome

5.0 2
Director: Dario Argento

Cast: Luigi Diberti, Thomas Kretschmann, Julien Lambroschini


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The title affliction causes sufferers to react to paintings in extreme and bizarre ways. In the case of police detective Anna Manni, she swoons and feels herself entering hallucinatory versions of the artwork she sees. This Italian psychothriller contains dark elements of horror as Manni tries to capture a murderous serial rapist. The lady detective is first seen


The title affliction causes sufferers to react to paintings in extreme and bizarre ways. In the case of police detective Anna Manni, she swoons and feels herself entering hallucinatory versions of the artwork she sees. This Italian psychothriller contains dark elements of horror as Manni tries to capture a murderous serial rapist. The lady detective is first seen walking the art-filled hallways of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The great paintings have a terrible effect upon her and she ends up having one of her surreal visions after fainting in front of Brueghel's "The Flight of Icarus." She sees herself falling through the painting's deep ocean and is only saved by the hands of Alfredo, a stranger who saw her fall. She returns woozily to her hotel. Her memory has temporarily lapsed, and once in her room she finds herself similarly mesmerized by a painting on the wall, but eventually she remembers her assignment. Unfortunately, when she meets up with Alfredo again, he attacks and rapes her. He then forces her to watch while he rapes and murders another. She manages to escape and make it back to Rome where she begins seeing a psychiatrist. Her former lover Marco also makes sure she is guarded 24-hours a day. Unfortunately for Anna it is not enough, and Alfredo strikes again.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
A sadistic and disturbing psychological exploration driven by the horrifying concept of a rape victim who begins to take on her attacker's dark persona, Dario Argento's The Stendhal Syndrome is ultimately a victim of it's own excess and the director's tendency to overcomplicate a fairly simple storyline. A vast improvement in style and storytelling over the Argento's previous efforts of the 1990s, The Stendhal Syndrome can be admired for Asia Argento's impressive portrayal of a female cop who shifts from predator to prey to questionably sane victim and who runs the gamut of emotion and shifting physical appearance. Regardless of Asia's convincing performance and the somewhat surreal and ultimately passive use of then-innovative computer-generated effects, it's hard to ignore the unrelenting cruelty the protagonist endures. Critics of director Argento have often accused him of being misogynistic (Argento's own admissions that he would rather see a beautiful woman die on film rather than an unattractive man or woman certainly doesn't aid an argument against this), and those critics will most certainly site this film as the ultimate proof of that theory. Though the story remains absorbing throughout the mid-point character shift that ignites the psychological torture of the second half, the seemingly meandering plot grinds to a halt just as it should truly shine. Director Argento crafts a stunningly visual opening sequence which, accompanied by old-friend Ennio Morricone's hauntingly hypnotic score rivals anything from his Deep Red (1975) / Suspiria (1977) heyday, and though his visual scheme remains strong the energy built here cannot sustain the duration of the film. While compositions remain suitably unnerving throughout, the storyline that was needed to truly project them into the viewer's psyche doesn't provide adequate fuel for them to do so. Throughout his career Argento's horror has passed from the everyday to the supernatural, and though the internalized terror of The Stendhal Syndrome is indeed as effective as ever in moments, it will certainly be difficult for the majority of viewers to endure.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Blue Underground
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital Surround EX]

Special Features

Disc 1: ; Theatrical trailer; ; Disc 2: ; Director: Dario Argento; Inspiration: Psycological Consultant Graziella Magherini; Special Effects: Sergio Stivaletti; Assistant Director: Luigi Cozzi; Production Designer: Massimo Antonello Geleng

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Luigi Diberti Inspector Manetti
Thomas Kretschmann Alfredo Grossi
Julien Lambroschini Marie
Marco Leonardi Marco Longhi
John Quentin Anna's Father
Asia Argento Anna Manni
Paolo Bonacelli Psychiatrist

Technical Credits
Dario Argento Director,Original Story,Producer,Screenwriter
Franco Casagni Makeup Special Effects
Giuseppe Colombo Producer
Franco Ferrini Original Story
Antonello Geleng Art Director
Lia Morandini Costumes/Costume Designer
Ennio Morricone Score Composer
Angelo Nicolini Editor
Carlo Palmieri Sound/Sound Designer
Riccardo Palmieri Sound/Sound Designer
Giuseppe Rotunno Cinematographer
Sergio Stivaletti Special Effects

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Stendhal Syndrome
1. Program Start / Main Titles [1:45]
2. Profound Art [6:09]
3. Amnesia [5:13]
4. The Painting on the Wall [4:19]
5. Razorblade Smile [5:35]
6. Haircut [4:55]
7. Police Headquarters [4:24]
8. The Stendhal Syndrome [4:09]
9. Against the Wall [5:46]
10. Family Reunion [5:06]
11. The Oral Type [4:38]
12. Rape Victims [3:29]
13. A Familiar Voice [4:30]
14. "Let's Play a Game." [4:50]
15. A Bloody Mess [5:27]
16. Clean Water [3:28]
17. A Changed Woman [5:47]
18. Shared Interests [6:07]
19. Calls From a Killer [7:16]
20. Terror at the Museum [6:31]
21. Night Visitor [3:18]
22. "He Knows Everything." [4:20]
23. The Moment of Truth [9:31]
24. End Credits [2:39]


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Stendhal Syndrome 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Blue Underground has done another great job with this highly underrated Argento movie. But let’s not forget it was because of Troma that the film got any theatrical and initial DVD-release in it’s uncut version! It is also important to know that the Troma-dvd has the correct aspect ratio (which is somewhat overmatted in Blue Underground’s version) and some wonderful extra’s that are not present here, including an interview with Argento by the other highly underrated genius moviedirector Lloyd Kaufman, in which Dario is in a more relaxed and jolly mood than ever seen elsewhere. A brilliant film, with one of the best performances by Asia Argento ever. A fantastic treatment by VU. But without Troma’s dvd-premiere of this film you are certainly not complete!! If you have do choose, get that one.
Bryan_Cassiday_author More than 1 year ago
"The Stendhal Syndrome" is a dark, brilliant, unnerving, and beautiful excursion into the mind of a policewoman who is brutally assaulted. Clearly, this is one of Dario Argento's masterworks, aided by a haunting score by the talented Ennio Morricone.

Asia Argento, who plays the heroine, becomes unhinged by her violation. She was not a well woman to begin with, suffering from a syndrome named after the writer Stendhal that causes her to faint when she views certain works of art that overwhelm her. Her sexual victimization pushes her over the brink of madness, and what ensues is sheer terror. She experiences difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and reality. Her psychological predicament becomes all the more heinous when reality, in the guise of her assailant who continues to stalk her, becomes more horrifying than the chimeras conjured by her overheated imagination.

In its depiction of a woman's descent into madness, this film reminds me of Roman Polanski's "Repulsion," but Dario Argento's film is richer and fuller, whereas Polanski's is claustrophobic. "The Stendhanl Syndrome" is Argento at the top of his game.

--Bryan Cassiday, author of "Fete of Death"