Plucked (Giulio Questi, 1968, Italy/France)

Plucked, otherwise known by the title Death Laid an Egg or La Morte Ha Fatto L'Uovo, is a 1968 giallo from director Giulio Questi. As the giallo genre had not firmly been established yet, some would consider Plucked a proto-giallo. Yes, the film does feature a quintessential black-gloved "killer," although there is no real investigator here, and the film is more indebted to the arthouse world than police procedurals. This is evident from the film's opening credit, which features microscopic images of nature set to a dissonant jazz score by Bruno Maderna. Maderna was a prominent experimental and electronic composer, in addition to his film work.

Plucked is also noteworthy for featuring two European actors of the 1960s and beyond - Gina Lollobrigida and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Trintignant was two years away here from taking on his most iconic role in Italian film - Marcello Clerici in Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist. Lollobrigida was already a star and sex symbol at this point, having starred in numerous international products, including American ones. They play a couple who run a high-tech poultry farm to breed boneless chickens. This farming aspect is a considerable part of the script and has some commentary on industrialization in Italy at this time, as the out-of-work farm factory workers are shown throughout the film.

A love triangle ensues with the wife's cousin Gabri (Ewa Aulin). Plucked is a curio in that it seems to blend more traditional filmmaking techniques with a radical avant-garde approach. For example, when we learn that Gabri's parents have died in a car accident, we see her vision of the accident displayed in repeated close-ups - to the point that it becomes hard to know what we're seeing. While Plucked lags in parts, it is nevertheless an interesting proto-giallo with two great stars of its time.



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