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Dario Argento may be a less professionally active filmmaker these days, but his oddly macabre influence is everywhere: in the new generation of young-gun horror filmmakers, as prestige remake fodder with 2018’s Suspiria, and even through his lead acting role in Gaspar Noé’s recently Cannes-premiered Vortex . So the stage has truly been set for his return to proper feature filmmaking with Dark Glasses, a Rome-set giallo that wrapped last August and is currently receiving a new promotional push from its sales agent, Wild Bunch International, in light of November’s American Film Market. The film was produced by Conchita Airoldi and Laurentina Guidotti for Rome-based Urania Pictures, with Getaway Films in Paris on board as a co-producer.

Beyond his enshrined 1977 classic Suspiria, Argento’s work tends to feature storylines of an especially twisted and off-beat nature, often explicable through a kind of dream logic. And forget about contemporary notions of political correctness. Argento and co-writer Franco Ferrini’s script for Dark Glasses, developed over a handful of years, bears this out: rising Italian actress Ilenia Pastorelli will star as a prostitute blinded by a serial killer in a botched attack, who rescues and looks after Chin (newcomer Andrea Zhang), a young Chinese boy whose life has also been altered forever by her assailant’s actions in an unrelated incident. He becomes her ally in a “terrifying struggle” to see off the serial killer forever.

Set in high-class, urban Rome, as well as its rural outskirts, it unites the worlds of the chic hotels around the city’s Via Veneto and its Chinese population. “She’s an adult and blind; he’s too young to get by on his own. In addition, these are two different cultures: she is Italian; the child is Chinese. This combination is the engine of Dark Glasses,” as Argento put it in a statement. “The film represents my desire to explore two worlds: hers, we know it; his is more mysterious, and it will let us enter the neighbourhoods, houses and customs of the Chinese community in Rome, where they created a real ‘Chinatown’.”

Asia Argento, the director’s daughter, will also be in tow for a role in the film. Argento’s most recent movie prior to this was the poorly received Dracula 3D, the umpteenth adaptation of Bram Stoker’s tale, which premiered at Cannes in 2012, as a midnight screening. The film has alternatively, in English, been referred to as Black Glasses – evoking the taut, black leather that the classic giallo killer tends to don.

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