The witch, the killer, and the duckling. The emotionalized reflexivity of the Italian giallo

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In the sixties and seventies, a wide move towards personal participation and bodily involvement involved media discourse and public opinion in a shift towards experimental languages. Several filmmakers in Europe and in the USA began exploring the limits of classical film style, developing what David Bordwell labeled as intensified continuity. In this respect, a highly significant chapter is the so-called Italian giallo, or rather the whole system of cycles (also called filoni, strands) of the crime and police procedural genre that characterized Italian cinema in those years. The Italian crime cinema has left an important legacy, creating true cult phenomena, and we must assume that its importance is to be found also in its formal traits: in its ability to experiment with the forms and expressions of the new sensibility. The exemplary case study of my paper will be the cult title Don’t Torture a Duckling (Lucio Fulci, 1972), as a typical by-product of the late sixties and seventies’ anxiety to provoke and explore new languages, where many ‘fear-relevant’ conventions and genre markers were almost savagely exploited in a controversial but influential production formula and as an ‘emotionalized’ tactic of involvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in European Cinema
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Crime movie
  • Film experience
  • Italian Giallo
  • Lucio Fulci


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