A Quiet Place in the Country (1968)

Franco Nero, Vanessa Redgrave, Georges Géret, Gabriella Boccardo,
A popular painter, plagued by nightmares that he and his lover/sales agent are engaging in bizarre, ritualistic, sadistic sexual acts, seeks to escape the city and rent a house in the country.
  • 6.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Tonino Guerra, Luciano Vincenzoni, Writer:
  • Elio Petri, Director:
  • Alberto Grimaldi, Producer:

All subtitles:


/ 10

A talented, imaginative painter(Franco Nero)is having trouble finishingany of his paintings (painter's block?). His matron and lover (VanessaRedgrave) arranges for him to stay at a quiet villa out in the country.Instead of getting any work done there, however, he becomes obsessedwith the story of a beautiful and promiscuous 17-year-old girl who wasmysteriously killed at the villa during WWII. The older locals(especially the men)are equally obsessed with the girl,and they all endup holding a bizarre séance. But it is only the painter who startsseeing her ghost and eventually solves the mystery. Or does he?

This movie is kind of a combination of a ghost story like "The SixthSense" and an artist-as-unreliable-narrator movie like the recentFrench film "Swimming Pool". It's not really clear whether the ghostexists or whether Nero's character is going crazy (although the latterseems more likely). It is difficult to really compare this movie to aHollywood-style movie, however. Whereas a Hollywood-style movie wouldhave ratcheted up the suspense and eventually resolved the mystery.This movie starts and ends with pure over-the-top 60's pop psychedeliaand only the middle seems to be a really coherent narrative. And thisis really more like the more famous 60's Italian film "Blow Up" in thatthe mystery eventually becomes almost completely irrelevant.

The "Blow Up" comparison is tempting in that both films star VanessaRedgrave in one of her more sex kitten-ish roles as opposed to one ofher later, more serious roles (she did both, kind of like a BritishJane Fonda). However,this film has a much more frenetic pacing than"Blow Up" and is really of a piece with talented director Elio Petri'sother films like "The Tenth Victim" and "Investigation of a CitizenAbove Suspicion". Besides, this is much more Franco Nero's show thanRedgrave's. This is an unusual role for Nero. He looks physicallydifferent--thinner and with much less muscle tone (especially comparedto his earlier appearances in "Django" and "Texas Addio"). Hischaracter is very manic and seems half-crazed from the outset, and hehas a lot of blackly humorous scenes like when he visits the deadgirl's lonely, invalid old mother and just kind of helps himself to allher photographs. The supporting cast is good too including the verypretty Gabrielle Grimaldi as the "ghost" and Rita Calderoni (who laterworked a lot with equally crazed if less talented Italian directorsRenato Poselli and Paolo Solvay) as the maid at the villa, who alwaysseems to be in bed with her "brother" and at one point gets painted--literally--by her crazed employer. You may or not like this, but youcertainly can't say it isn't interesting.

8/10 / 10

A hypnotic Italian thriller about a very imaginative young painter(Nero). He's popular, energetic, so are his paintings. His matron andlover (Redgrave) is going to do everything to make him do his thing.She's willing to create an environment in which he'd be able to churnout more work that's hot and expensive. He decides he needs a quietplace in the country to live and paint in. But as they find such aplace, he gets distracted big time... This film is brilliantly crafted.Full of striking and dynamic visuals created by clever camera-work.Always logical, insane, but never "cheesy", "Quiet Place..." at timesreminds of Fulci's "Lucertola con la Pelle di Donna" and Verhoeven's"De Vierde Man". Franco Nero's a dead ringer to Kurt Cobain in thisone. He's so great in this role that it's almost as if he isn't acting.Highly recommended to fans of Bunuel, Verhoeven, Argento, etc.

7/10 / 10

A Quiet Place in the Country is a rarely seen film, and that's probablyowing to the fact that sourcing an English language copy is ratherdifficult. I was lucky enough to find one, and although I'm not goingto rave about this film as some others have; it's certainly veryinteresting and was worth the trouble of tracking it down. The film islikely to divide opinion because it doesn't really follow any logicalstructure, and mostly relies on style and atmosphere to get its pointsacross. Films like this have to work extra hard to get me to like themas I'm a fan of films that tell a story...and I'd say it just aboutmanages it. The plot focuses on Leonardo Ferri; a tortured artist. Heis haunted by strange visions and suffers from nightmares. Because ofthis, he feels he needs to get away to the countryside. He ends upstaying in a country villa; but his tranquillity is soon interruptedwhen it emerges that the villa is haunted by the ghost of a girl.Leonardo then becomes obsessed by the idea of the haunting, and edgesever closer to losing his mind.

My main reason for wanting to see this film is the fact that it starsthe great Franco Nero. It has to be said that this isn't really anactor's film as the focus is more on the visuals; but in spite of that,Nero still manages to impress with a performance that hits all theright notes. Nero leads the film and plays the only character of anysustained significance; but he does receive some decent support fromVanessa Redgrave. The plot is very fragmented in the way that it'sstructured and often trails off in directions you wouldn't expect. Attimes it's easier just to forget about what is going on and just watchthe film itself without worrying about the plot. Director Elio Petricreates a surreal atmosphere, which compliments the plot nicely andhelps to increase the potency of many of the visuals featured. The plotline about the haunting does not begin until half way through the film;although it is the film's only real attempt to tell a story. Even so,the film is a success rated purely on the quality of what we're seeingon screen...although viewers that appreciate a good story may bedisappointed.

6/10 / 10

"A Quiet Place in the Country (1969) is about an Italian painter whorents a villa that is haunted by the spirit of a young woman killedduring WWII. Essentially, that is about it, as far as a plot for thisfilm. Franco Nero plays the stereotypical image of a temperamentalartist; arrogant and dismissive of others, his character is not exactlywhat one would call warm. The first part of the film is somewhat dull.Nero is shacked up with his lover (Vanessa Redgrave) who encourages hispainting, although her motives seem to be more financial, his for theartistry. For whatever reason, he becomes obsessed with a run-downItalian villa and moves there. Nero is plagued by dreams about a younggirl who lived in the village and was promiscuous with some of themales who still reside there. The film becomes more interesting as Nerotries to unravel the mystery of how the young woman died, who she wasinvolved with -- and it begins to drive him into total madness. I won'tgive away the very bizarre ending, and I am not sure I could explain itmyself! One positive here is the creepy atmosphere the director managesto set -- one can almost feel the spirit of the young woman throughoutthe villa. There are some very fascinating visuals throughout. All ofthat said, the plot is at times quite disjointed, full of holes andunanswered questions. Nero is fascinating to watch, and I confess Iknew little of him as an actor. Vanessa Redgrave, always one of myfavorites, is given little to do here. Her devotion to Nero's characterseems to border on the pathological at times, and we get slightglimpses into their bizarre and -- I think -- unhealthy relationship.This is definitely not a film for everyone, but I found it interesting,despite its flaws.

8/10 / 10

After a demented credit sequence, things calm down a bit by presentingFranco Nero in his pants, tied to a chair, while Vanessa Redgravesurrounds him with electric gadgets, including an underwater televisionwhich she places between his legs. Vanessa then murders Franco in theshower. It's a typical artist's day.

And a dream, thankfully. Franco is having trouble completing anypicture these days, and Vanessa, as his wife/manager, is getting ratherfrustrated that he sits around reading porn and being crazy rather thandoing anything else. Worse still, he becomes obsessed with a house hespies in the country (in this film, that means that Franco appears andBECKONS HIMSELF into the house, yep, it's one of 'those' films).

Franco loves the house but is rather creeped out by certain rooms nearthe top, and tells Vanessa that 'there's a ghost in my house' and ghostthat wants to kill Vanessa, judging by the things pulling her throughthe floor and trying to fry her while she's having a shower. This mightbe the spirit of Wanda, a girl with the fanny of a burst couch judgingby the stories the locals tell about her.

I'm describing this like it's a straightforward 'vengeful ghost' film,but that's far from the truth as the first twenty minutes involvingFranco's daily routine are utterly brain melting, and serves to makeyou doubt anything you see for the entire duration of the film. Isthere actually a ghost at all? Is there a conspiracy against Franco oris he just mental? To top it all, there's about three differentunreliable narrators in this film too.

And on top of that there's the insane direction and the bizarreMorricone soundtrack. We often see things happen about three times in arow from various angles, like Franco appearing to garrotte his wife,but then not doing that at all, or Franco watching himself painting, orfrequently imagining himself as Wanda or one of her lovers, or even aguy that gets murdered. Totally off the wall. Morricone's soundtrack isequally mental, going from AMM style improve to tuneless Resident'spiano with slide whistle!

This is a stand out film for me. Not a classic, but a good one due tothe off-beat direction and the usual solid Nero performance. Aye.