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Monday, May 29, 2006

Official Mother of Tears news

Source: Dark Dreams

Direct from critic and all-round Argento expert Alan Jones, author of Profondo Argento, comes the first truly official news on the script for the upcoming Mother of Tears. His entire report bears repeating here (hope no-one minds!), although readers should be warned that it contains spoilers:

Set in modern-day Rome, it begins with the church grave of legendary occult fighter Oscar de la Vallee being unearthed by bulldozers. Chained to the coffin by crucifixes is an urn that is sent to Rome museum art restoration student Sarah Mandy (Sienna Miller in talks to play the part according to Cannes hype).

Unsealing the urn with her friend Giselle she finds a red satin robe encrusted with jewels, a golden dagger and three demonic terracotta figures. They all belong to the Mother of Tears (Mater Lachrymarum as per De Quincey, spelt Lachrimarum in the script) reborn through Giselle cutting her finger while opening up the urn. The three deformed demons spring to life and eviscerate Giselle, garrotting her with her own intestines, in a spectacular set piece clearly meant to rival the Suspiria opening.

This puts Sarah on the run from occult forces through a panic-stricken Rome, awash in a rash of crime and suicides, to uncover the truth about her mysterious spiritual past, and face the cruellest Mother of all at the vast Palazzo Varelli. The story is full of marvellous moments (the Mother of Tears bleeds jewels that scorch the skin), outrageous gore (one character becomes a demonic buffet while still alive, someone gets chopped pieces, assorted deaths by medieval torture instruments) and terrific special effects (the Mother licking the tears off crying faces with a giant tongue, Sarah’s guardian angel appearing in powder blown from a compact).

It connects to Suspiria and Inferno in very intriguing ways – the Tanz Akademie students, ornate wall decorations revealing secret passages, and the pivotal clue "What you see doesn't exist and what you can’t see is truth". And there's even a crazed Phenomena monkey too!

What really scares me about the picture is its sheer scale. Although it's now an Italian Medusa and Myriad Pictures co-production (the latter American company made Jeepers Creepers 2 and the current Factory Girl – with Sienna Miller), it's going to need a lot of money behind it. There's an elaborate animated ancient text sequence for a start, not to mention the huge Cinecitta sets, and many (Sergio Stivalettii?) scenes that will require extensive CGI augmentation – psychic hallucinations, the demons, a flaming telephone cable stretching for miles, the number of extras involved from the covens of witches gathering in Rome to the ultimate orgy.

None of this is going to be cheap and it will all have to look as epic and gorgeous as the two prior films in the trilogy. Despite a rather formula narrative – every time Sarah is given vital information the informant is horrifically killed in the next scene – the set pieces are just incredible. My favourite being the MOT walking down a wall as her bejewelled robe casts primary colour reflections on her amassed worshippers. Oh dear, I'm getting quite excited about the Mother of Tears. All the material is definitely there, lets hope Dario can pull his long-awaited sequel off.

Call me crazy, but I'm starting to get really excited about this. I just hope the American co-production deal will result in Argento having an adequate budget to pull this off.


  • One of those pieces of news that make you go "wow!" for long moments! After chilling out a bit, my very very very first tought was: if it's all as described, let's hope it's not so CGI-heavy, let's hope a reasonable part of effects is traditional/mechanical. Stivaletti pioneered some CGI, but he's by far more keen on traditional FX. Doing it all CGI would require a really skilled team, not to risk cheap-o-rama effects...

    By MCP, at 16:19  

  • I believe a Turin-based studio has been contracted to do the CGI effects, so we won't be seeing anything like Stivaletti's "home-made" graphic effects from The Stendhal Syndrome.

    By Whiggles, at 16:35  

  • I cross my fingers. In Italy we have some isolated talent in CG animation, but not a studio with proven expertise in movies, at least not in large productions. Hope they can do the magic.

    BTW, one of the men behind Final Fantasy - The movie CG was Italian: don't know if this is good or bad news :)

    By MCP, at 17:23  

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