on June 9, 2005
All Argento fans can rejoice with the publication of Alan Jones' book Profondo Argento: The Man, The Myth And the Magic. Everything a fan(or newcomer)wanted to know about Dario Argento's work(films, reviews, interviews, articles, etc.) is practically here. It is extremely well researched, with lots of interviews and articles, and it is profusely illustrated with images, posters and people associated with Argento's work and world. The best thing is that the book is pretty much up to date, covering Argento's latest giallo "The Card Player." This book is definitely a work of love by a fan for the fans and I find myself always referring to it quite frequently. A true delight well worth for the price. I highly recommend it.
on October 22, 2006
PROFONDO ARGENTO is the second book I have ever bought from FAB Press. The first was ART OF DARKNESS: THE CINEMA OF DARIO ARGENTO which, to say the least, was a disappointment. A beautiful but empty pseudo-anyalis of the filmmaker's career, ART OF DARKNESS was about as stale and lifeless as any film book you'll ever encounter. It seems this problem has plagued a lot of the other tomes in the FAB Press line-up: BEYOND TERROR, their Lucio Fulci book, has also been cited as something of a waste. But PROFONDO, thankfully, trumps both of them and turns out to be one of the best, most invigorating studies of a cult filmmaker ever published.
The reason is simple: British author Alan Jones has spent the past twenty-five years or so working with Argento himself. He has been on the film sets of virtually all of the man's post-PHENOMENA films, and has access to rare behind-the-scenes info, opinions, and interviews that no one else would. Whereas Stephen Thrower felt merely content to sit in his room and type up 350 pages of heartless dross and call it a book, Jones actually has something to SHOW us. Simply put, any Argento fan cannot go without this book. Unless the director himself writes it, there will never be a better book about his career.
Features chapters dedicated to each of the man's movies up to NON HO SONNO (SLEEPLESS), interviews with cast and crew (and Argento himself), behind-the-scenes photos, color artwork, and brief sections on Argento contemporaries like Asia, Michele Soavi, etc. The only thing it doesn't have is information on the man's childhood, etc.
on March 3, 2006
If there is one valid complaint to be made about this book it is that there is too much information presented within its pages. Argento fans know there is no such thing as "too much information" when it comes to the master of Italian film, though.
Interviews, rare photos and lobby cards, film reviews and more are presented in this gorgeous book. If you are an Argento fan and haven't read this, you are truly missing out. There is something for even the most die-hard fanatic to learn.
on June 30, 2006
Despite the popularity of horror throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's and its acceptance by academia and critics as a valid form of cinematic expression, it is astonishing that there has been so few books about Italian director Dario Argento. The first serious study was by Maitland McDonagh in 1994's BROKEN MIRRORS, BROKEN MINDS. This was followed in 2003 by ART OF DARKNESS edited by Chris Gallant. If you're looking for books that explore the deeper themes of Argento's work then I would recommend both of these over Alan Jones' PROFONDO ARGENTO. Jones' effort is perfectly usable, but lacks the sophistication and thematic depth of the other two. The book also suffers from an irritating degree of sycophancy, which comes from Jones' well documented friendship with Argento. This is all very good, but why do we need to know about it? Far too much of this book is anecdotal, which detracts both from the enjoyment and any objective critical stance. In compensation though, as one would expect from FAB PRESS, the book is attractively illustrated. Many of the photos come from Jones' personal collection, and for this he should be commended. There is certainly enthusiasm here and one can tell that for Jones it was a labour of love, and on occasion the prose is exciting and imaginative.
As an introduction to Argento's cinema I would recommend PROFONDO ARGENTO as your first port of call (having made sure you have watched all the available films of course), compared to the other two major works on him, it is light, entertaining and readable. But be warned, in this book the story of Argento's cinema is also the story of Alan Jones, and I for one am certainly not interested in the latter.
I agree whole heartedly with the other reviewer in stating that this volume is far more enjoyable than the other Fab Press Argento tome, "Art of Darkness".This one wins in both the literal content as well as the wealth of photos,stills,posters,etc..Whereas the other book suffered from image blurriness (at least my copy),this volume is absolutely gorgeous.Having read all the available English language books on the subject, I feel that this book has given me the best understanding of this artist and his approach to his craft. I dont know if this volume will ever be topped.