Snapshot of a Crime

Snapshot of a Crime

It may seem banal, but this is giallo territory.

Without any explanation, steely-eyed Mirna (Erna Schurer) breaks off her relationship with boyfriend Luca (Luis La Torre), who decides to get away to the Puglia coast. There, he meets photographer Giancarlo (Giancarlo Annunziata) and his two fashion models, Stefania (Lorenza Guerrieri) and Claudia (Monica Strebel) Luca quickly rebounds with Stefania but when they steal away to a private island for a naughty private photo shoot, Stefania disappears along with the camera and, despite the fact that no body has turned up, Claudia accuses Luca of murdering her friend. Soon, Luca receives photos of himself in flagrante with Stefania which, out of context, look like he's murdering her. Did Luca really kill Stefania? If not, who is trying to make it look that way? And could Mirna somehow be involved? 

Snapshot of a Crime is a deep-cut giallo best only sought out by genre completists (like myself).  The movie is edited together like the world's longest trailer, with a constant driving rock soundtrack and abrupt cuts that feel as if they're just sound bites taken from the middle of much longer scenes. We ping-pong between settings and characters with no establishing shots or sense of time - it's incredibly disorienting. The narrative feels aimless for much of the film, but things start to come together when we're shown yellow-tinted flashbacks that reveal the missing moments between the scenes. After a bloodless 70 minutes of meandering relationship melodrama, I was ready to give up, but then a mystery plot emerged and played out like an early Umberto Lenzi con-game giallo. Like I said, if you're new to giallo, watch the classics before trying to make sense of this one.

  • You may remember Monica Strebel from the equally incomprehensible (but much more fun) Slaughter Hotel.
  • You may also remember Erna Schurer from Strip Nude For Your Killer.
  • Cinematographer Luciano Tovoli would go on to work his color-saturated magic on Dario Argento's Susperia.

What the Hell Am I Watching?

That self-referential quote above is an actual line of dialogue from this movie.

Besides those disorienting jump cuts, there are several fake-out scenes that will leave you scratching your head. We see a dark first-person camera shot of Claudia, sleeping in bed. She turns and addresses the camera. Normally, this would lead to a murder scene but instead, we abruptly jump to the next scene.  Later, after their sexy times on the beach, a shadow is seen approaching on the sand holding a spear gun (or is it a metal detector?). Again, this would normally lead to a murder scene but we jump elsewhere.

Then, after the encounter at the beach, there's no indication that Stefania is missing, let alone dead. Luca goes about his life and then gets blackmail notes, leaving the audience to piece the story together with the most meager clues. The filmmakers may have thought this approach was "impressionistic" or "arty" but it's just bad storytelling.

Fashion Moment

When he's not shirtless in swimwear, Luca likes to wear these groovy leisure suits.

Also, check out one of the coolest spiral staircases I've seen in a giallo movie.

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