The silence of the lambs: an unmissable cult

The silence of the lambs: an unmissable cult
Exactly thirty years ago, on January 31, 1991, the world premiere of The Silence of the Lambs was staged in New York. The thriller directed by Jonathan Demme thus began his journey that would soon lead him to international success with critics and audiences. In fact, it is not just a great film, but a cultural event that has shaken the masses and public opinion, able to speak to an audience that is too often marginalized and considered indecent, vulgar. All without ever forgetting the main role that a film is often called upon to respond to: entertainment. Yes, because it is impossible not to be passionate about history, the young and fragile Clarice Starling or the magnetic Mephistophelic gaze of the fearsome Doctor Lecter. A journey into the abyss of human psychosis, towards torpor and the innermost fears of each of us. A nightmare that comes to life on the screen but which concerns us closely.

The silence of the lambs, the award-winning thriller

It is difficult not to see yourself again in the story, so much so that the film found precisely the applause of millions of fans all over the world, even succeeding in an almost historic undertaking. In fact, together with the classic It happened one night (Frank Capra, 1934) and the more recent One flew over the cuckoo's nest (Milos Forman, 1975), The Silence of the Lambs is the third and so far last film in history to have won five awards. Most coveted Oscars. We are obviously talking about best film, best director, best screenplay, best actress and best actor. A mind-boggling five that consecrated the almost total value of the feature film, launching Jodie Foster's career and challenging common thinking in crowning Anthony Hopkins with a statuette even if it only appears for sixteen minutes on stage.

Still speaking of Oscar, the film holds another excellent result. It is complained that the most coveted prize in the world has a "short memory", or that the works that came out close to the ceremony (therefore towards the end of the previous calendar year) end up in the Academy's attention. Well, The Silence of the Lambs was the first film to win the most important award (the one for best feature film) even though home video was already on the market at the time of the award ceremony. In fact, the film was released in US theaters in February 1991 (coinciding with the presentation at the Berlin Film Festival where it won the award for best director) while it was then crowned at the Oscars on the night of March 1993, practically more than a year later.

The film is based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris and is the second feature film that sees serial killer Hannibal Lecter at the center of the events (the first was Manhunter - Fragments of a murder, directed by Michael Mann in 1986) . Demme, who will be consecrated with this film and then reconfirmed two years later thanks to the judicial drama Philadelphia (1993), launches into the challenge with all the grit and boldness of the case. The Silence of the Lambs is in fact a dynamic and pulsating film, full of close-ups and dilated times useful for increasing the tension in the bowels of the spectator and making it simmer just like the protagonists.

One suffers being on the armchair, breathing the same air as the actors and “suffering” the story next to their bodies.

In fact, the carnal component is one of the most evident themes of the feature film. Starting with the surrealist poster (complete with a tribute to Salvador Dalì) in which the body of seven women gives shape to the skeleton of a moth, up to obviously the "dishes" of Dr. Lecter's gastronomic menu, passing through the more transgender component linked to the character of Jame Gumb. To help the actors get into the role, the production sent them the tapes that some killers had recorded while torturing the victims. Hopkins and Jane Fonda preferred not to watch them, however the actor studied extensively the behaviors and expressions of many convicted killers by attending in person at some trials or by reviewing interviews and interrogations.

Thirty years old after

Concerning The Silence of the Lambs exactly thirty years after its release allows us to appreciate even more its ability to be screened in the following years: the film does not seem to have aged at all, quite the contrary. After this work, Lecter found space again in Hannibal (directed by Ridley Scott in 2001), Red Dragon (directed by Brett Ratner in 2002) and Hannibal Lecter - The origins of evil (directed by Peter Webber in 2007). Yet one of the most anticipated works related to the film is certainly the television series that will begin its course on February 11 in the United States. We are talking about Clarice and it is a show produced by CBS All Access that starts a year after the events narrated in The Silence of the Lambs.

The title clearly refers to the name of the agent of the 'FBI who in the film was played by Jodie Foster now has the body and face of Rebecca Breeds. The show should be about how Clarice's career is relaunched after the events of the film. She is in fact now a very experienced woman with criminals of a certain weight and she could become a point of reference in the department. However, his personality is very fragile and it will not be easy to keep up with such rhythms of work forever.

The most interesting thing, however, is that, apparently, the authors of the series have not been able to fully obtain the rights of Thomas Harris novels. So it would seem that the name of Hannibal Lecter cannot be pronounced explicitly although it will be inevitable to refer to his person. It should also be remembered that at the end of the film, Lecter actually manages to escape, thus creating an interesting narrative cue. It will be curious to understand what the authors have invented to get all the pieces back in their place.

Impossible to resist the call of the blu-ray edition of this timeless masterpiece.

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