In Turin, the first major exhibition dedicated to Dario Argento, master of cinema

The National Museum of Cinema in Turin presents from April 6, 2022 to January 16, 2023 the first major exhibition dedicated to the master filmmaker and director Dario Argento.

From April 6, 2022 to January 16, 2023, the exhibition Dario Argento - The Exhibit, curated by Domenico De Gaetano and Marcello Garofalo, will be on display at the National Museum of Cinema, located inside Turin’s Mole Antonelliana. This is the first major exhibition dedicated to the great master of cinema, director, screenwriter and producer Dario Argento (Rome, 1940).

On Tuesday, April 5 at 9 p.m. Cinema Massimo will host a screening of the restored copy of Suspiria (Italy 1977, 98’, DCP, col.), with an introduction by Dario Argento.

“Dario Argento is one of the most internationally known and appreciated masters of Italian cinema,” said Enzo Ghigo, president of the National Cinema Museum of Turin, during the motivation at the awarding of the Star of the Mole to Argento. “From his debut behind the camera with The Bird with the Crystal Feathers to his latest film Black Glasses, he has ranged between giallo, thriller and horror, creating and imposing to generations of viewers his very personal imagery, the result of an uncommon figurative talent. A filmmaker but also an artist. Indeed, his visionary cinema constantly dialogues with the other arts, creating seductive visual universes and sumptuous mise-en-scene through a vital and free use of the camera. Each film is a reflection on the nature of the image and its perception, drawing on the experiences of pre-cinema and studies straddling optics and psychoanalysis. In the ghostly settings of his films, he has returned an unprecedented and uncanny image of Turin that enriches our gaze towards the city with fascination and mystery.”

The exhibition offers a chronological journey through Dario Argento’s entire output, from the beginnings of The Bird with the Crystal Feathers (1970) to his latest work Black Glasses (2022), recently presented at the Berlin Film Festival in the Special Gala section.

Starting with a visual synthesis of the themes he favored, the exhibition offers for each title in the director’sextensive filmography curiosities, quotations, photographs, film sequences, sketches, posters, costumes, mechanized creatures and soundtracks. Among the collections on display are also works by haute couture houses that made costumes and jewelry for Argento, and the creations of Italian masters of special effects.

Screenings feature photo galleries, sequences and montages from his works, documentation on special effects and music in his films. On-set photographs show the artifice and power of staging. Videos restore Argento’s relationship with music and art, also emphasizing tributes to directors he loved, such as Lang and Hitchcock, as well as frequent references to paintings, comic books, literary works and design objects.

On the Mole’s exhibition ramp, visitors will find Argentian memorabilia: 44 props, 12 precious original posters and playbills from the National Cinema Museum, set sketches, mechanical creatures, unpublished photographs and much more.

Especially significant are the ten costumes from some of his films, including one specially recreated by Giorgio Armani, who had designed Jennifer Connelly’s clothes on the set of Phenomena (1985), while more than sixty panels reconstruct Argento’s biographical and artistic journey.

The exhibits come from the collections of the National Cinema Museum, the CSC - Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (National Film Archive and National Film School) and numerous private collectors, with important contributions from film professionals such as Sergio Stivaletti, an effects artist on many of Argento’s films from Phenomena of 1985 onward; Luigi Cozzi, Argento’s close collaborator from the beginning; Franco Bellomo, Stefano Oggiano, Gabriele Farina, Roberto Attanasio and Carlo Rambaldi, one of the most important special effects artists in the world.

“The path of the exhibition,” explains Domenico De Gaetano, director of the National Cinema Museum and co-curator of the Turin exhibition, “proposes an ’other’ approach to the work of Dario Argento, considering him above all a director deeply in love with the possibilities of the film medium who through a poetics of visual delirium was able to become one of the great creators of images of our time, a demiurge of a world whose features, suspended between the oneiric and the fantastic, between abstraction and the temptation of the sublime, are multifaceted, multiple and complex, always placed beyond the border of vision.”

Marcello Garofalo, film critic and co-curator of the exhibition, points out that “Argento builds his modernity in the paradox of a gaze that often collides between that of the protagonist of the story and that of the spectator, both dazzled by a ’mise-en-scene’ that has nothing of the game, if not mockery for a deceptiveness of the gaze, incapable of looking at the essential and fooled by the great ’trick’ of cinema, appearing when one believes one is living, dreaming (or plunging into nightmare) when one believes one is vigilant and can dominate reality. All the protagonists of Argento’s cinema have in common that they resemble us, because they possess, even before psychology and behavior, the tendency to always see too much or too little, to be victims of glares and visions, to the point of no longer distinguishing what is true from what is false. Throughout his work, the dream becomes space, almost like an invisible net, and the oneiric insinuates itself into reality, not because it is in opposition to it, but because it bears a terrible resemblance to it. Emblematic are the words that in Inferno, Argento entrusts, as if we were in a Godard film, to Countess Elise De Longvalle Adler (Daria Nicolodi): ’It is painting, not blood.’”

“I am really happy that the National Museum of Cinema in Turin has informed me that one of their planned events is a major exhibition dedicated to my cinema,” said Dario Argento when he learned the news of this exhibition. “Over the course of my career, which began way back in 1970, I have had the opportunity to receive various accolades all over the world, especially in France, America, and Japan; in Italy I was recently awarded the David di Donatello for Lifetime Achievement, but this tribute that the Museum of Cinema in Turin will dedicate to me is particularly exciting to me, not only because it will take place in a city that I love very much, where I have had the opportunity to shoot several films and in a prestigious venue such as the Cinema Museum, but because, thanks to the very accurate work that the organizers and curators of the event are doing I will have the opportunity to introduce even the youngest people to my entire cinematic journey, accompanying them inside my ’idealistic cinema,’ made of nightmares, dreams and visions, where the gray reality has never arrived and never will.”

On the occasion of the exhibition, the National Cinema Museum is offering a series of initiatives to explore the contents of Argento’s work and life. Special appointments on a monthly basis aimed at schools and all audiences, such as cine-lessons, a national competition in collaboration with Iter-Città di Torino, screenings, the tour to the Turin locations touched by Argento’s filmography and collaborations with other cultural institutions, such as Solares Fondazione per le Arti, the Musei Civici di Pinerolo, the Cineteca Nazionale - CSC.

This also includes the complete film retrospective on the director’s work staged at the Cinema Massimo. The program is structured in two phases, the first opens to the public on Tuesday, April 5 at 9 p.m. in the presence of Dario Argento with the screening of the restored copy of Suspiria. The second part of the playbill is scheduled for October.

For times, tickets, reservations and access arrangements, visit

Photo: Bellomo Archives

In Turin, the first major exhibition dedicated to Dario Argento, master of cinema
In Turin, the first major exhibition dedicated to Dario Argento, master of cinema

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