After losing their daughter in a drowning accident, a married couple (Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie) in Venice on business start to think they’re seeing their daughter around the city in this classic horror thriller from director Nicolas Roeg.
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From the Golden Age of Paranoia Thrillers (the 1970s) comes the exact midpoint between Hitchcock and Lynch. Plot-wise, we're in the realm of schlock or pulp (serial killers and clairvoyants wandering about), but the rigorous visuals carry it into the realm of dreams, hitting a sweetspot where just enough is left said and unsaid to make it both lucid, coherent, and aimed directly at the subconscious. A masterpiece.
Not exactly a sex scene you'd want to watch with your grandma in the room, but why was it so controversial? Down-to-earth sex scenes between two partners, sans-airbrush, out of love, is something we need more, not less of.
I'm having a tough time with this one. I honestly hate the editing, even in the celebrated sex scene and the opening sequence. But the atmosphere of Venice is great stuff and the buildup to its final moments is well worth your time.