The Transparent Woman is a 2015 Italian Giallo mystery, written and directed by Domiziano Christpharo. No stranger to Italian exploitation cinema, Domiziano Christpharo is known for his long list of erotic horror films such as House of Flesh Mannequins (2009), P.O.E. Poetry of Eerie (2011) and Lovecraft’s 2 Left Arms (2012) as well as working with some of the most well-known actors in Italian exploitation such as Ruggero Deodato and Romano Scavolini.
Anna is a beautiful, fiercely independent blind woman, whose husband, Carl, needs to sell their current apartment due to financial problems. The couple moves into Carl’s childhood home in a remote location, surrounded by nothing but empty fields. Unfortunately, Anna is not happy in her new domicile and feels even more isolated, having to spend most of her time all alone. But, as eerie noises and strange occurrences increase, this leads her to believe that she may not be as alone as she thought…
The film features phenomenal levels of cinematography, with a strong emphasis on scene framing as well as the manipulation of focus. This implementation of technique displays a stunning attention to detail and knowledge of scenography from the director, the referral of his techniques to a mix of Argento and Fellini are extremely fitting. Furthermore, a comprehensive application of lighting enunciates the tonal change within a scene efficiently; a beautiful interchange between deep blues and reds synonymous with Giallo.
In addition to this, the story follows a traditional representation of Giallo, with less of a focus on violent slashings synonymous with the genre, instead emphasising a deep mystery where all is not what it seems on the surface. In fact, the film depicts barely any violence throughout the majority of its run time, firmly fixating on it’s building story and beautiful cinematography. Moreover, the film’s erotica is easier to approach than the majority, lacking the usual sleaze ubiquitous in Giallo and instead aids as a passionate affirmation of the couple’s loving relationship.
However, a noticeable flaw in design is the film’s length, lasting around 80 minutes. Due to this, the film unfortunately seems to lose the majority of tension intended to be built upon with elongated periods of inactivity, feeling slow overall. Unequivocally, a shorter run time would solve this slight stagnation in pace, assisting in the film’s overall flow and ability to build on this tension.
By contrast, The Transparent Woman delivers a worthy payoff in its conclusion, utilising the characters’ blindness to incorporate a refreshing reveal to this mystery rather than the same played out “they’re behind you” trope (though this is still present). Omitting any spoilers, this final reveal is genuinely creepy, with a great use of special effects to create an intriguing horror twist into the story and is the film’s strongest aspect, by far.
Distributed by Darkstar Films, The Transparent Woman is available on a region free limited edition Blu-ray featuring English, French and Italian subtitles, behind the scenes feature, bloopers interviews and trailers and is available via Goredrome Horror Store here.
Although slow in pace, the film is an amazing example of classic Giallo brought to life in a modern day setting, displaying magnificent colour and luscious cinematography throughout. The knowledge of the genre exhibited by director Domiziano Christpharo shows a deep appreciation for their content and style. Although the film’s weakening tension may be off-putting to some, the dramatic conclusion more than makes up for this. I look forward to viewing more of this up-and-coming director’s filmography and his particular style of film making.
Hey there, I’m Jim and I’m located in London, UK. I am a Writer and Technical Director here at Grimoire of Horror. A life long love of horror and writing has led me down this rabbit hole, allowing me to meet many amazing people and experience some truly original artwork. I specialise in world cinema, manga/graphic novels and video games but will sometime traverse into the unknown in search of adventure.