Only Blackness

Only Blackness “Solamente Nero (Antonio Bido, 1978)

Filmed in Murano in 1978, the movie, also known by the international titles ‘Only Blackness’ or ‘The Bloodstained Shadow,’ is considered a classic of Italian giallo cinema.

The story takes place in Venice, a city steeped in mystery and decay, and revolves around the protagonist Stefano, played by Lino Capolicchio. Stefano is a young musician who returns to his hometown for his father’s funeral. Once there, Stefano becomes entangled in a series of bloody and mysterious murders that seem connected to a dark Venetian past. Determined to uncover the truth, Stefano begins to investigate, aided by the journalist Sandra (played by Stefania Casini).

We’re talking about a film characterized by numerous twists and narrative turns. The work plays with the idea of a city that hides secrets, where darkness and violence intertwine with the characters’ past. Antonio Bido skillfully employs typical elements of the giallo genre, such as the identity of the killer, false leads, and investigations, to maintain suspense throughout the film.

A distinctive aspect is undoubtedly its dark and claustrophobic atmosphere, fully utilizing the narrow streets and alleys of Venice, as well as its charming architecture and canals, all elements that lend themselves perfectly to this genre. The dark photography and play of light and shadow help emphasize the gloomy atmosphere and create visual tension.

Another notable element of the film is the soundtrack composed by Stelvio Cipriani, capable of underlining moments of suspense and increasing the viewer’s anxiety at crucial moments.
Furthermore, ‘Solamente Nero’ addresses themes such as guilt, obsession, and the search for truth. The characters are complex and well-developed, each hiding secrets and motivations. Lino Capolicchio delivers a solid performance in the role of Stefano with his determination to uncover the truth, while Stefania Casini brings strength and mystery to her character of Sandra.

To Conclude

Although it did not achieve great commercial success at the time of its release, ‘Solamente Nero’ has been reassessed over the years and has gained a following among fans of the giallo genre.

Some Curiosities

Lino Capolicchio plays the role of Stefano: fortuitous coincidence or deliberate homage that Bido pays to Avati’s film?
In ‘The House with Laughing Windows,’ Capolicchio also plays a character named… Stefano.
‘Solamente Nero,’ although it recalls by contrast the more famous ‘Deep Red,’ is actually a very psychological film, less visceral, quite understated. The opposite (as the title suggests) of the more agitated thriller directed by Argento.

There also seems to be a vague reference (which we’ll refrain from spoiling here) to another famous Italian giallo, directed by Fulci.

‘Behind the Corner is Terror’ is the working title of the film…
-source Odds & Ends – Rudy Salvagnini’s Blog

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