The translator Alice Cespi has nightmares with an astronaut left alone on the moon and is addicted in sleeping pills. When she goes to work, she is fired since she missed three days without any justification. She returns home and finds a torn postcard of the Garma Hotel in Garma and decides to visit the seaside touristic place. She stumbles upon the weird girl Paola Bersel, the stranger Harry and other locals that believe she is a woman called Nicole. Along the days, Alice tries to unravel the mystery of her missing days.
Directed by: Luigi Bazzoni
, Mario Fanelli
. Starring: Florinda Bolkan
, Peter McEnery
, Klaus Kinski
, Lila Kedrova
, Nicoletta Elmi
, Caterina Boratto
, John Karlsen
, Ida Galli
, Miriam Acevedo
, Rosita Torosh
, Luigi Antonio Guerra
, Franco Magno
, Esmeralda Ruspoli
. Music by: Nicola Piovani
'Le orme' aka 'Footprints (on the Moon)' has an intriguing premise. What if you wake up and you apparently skipped two days? And you find out that people saw you during this time? In a different country. And the people there say they met you but you had different hair and a different name?
It's a mystery that I was always interested in finding the answer to although it didn't give me much food for thought on the way. This changes about 55 minutes in when it isn't anymore all JUST about protagonist Alice Cespi asking one question after another to people who claim have seen her or talked to her and the film for the first time really hints at a possible solution to the mystery, a temporary solution that is sad and evocative. But things don't stop there and the film provides what appears to be the answer before delivering a twist and then finally a dramatic climax which while bringing everything together and creating a full picture of what happened is both satisfying but complex and open enough to stay thought-provoking after the movie is over as it is probably open to interpretation regarding at least some questions.
"Footprints" is a compelling mood piece with many nice locations even if I couldn't tell what country or even what continent this seaside town named "Garma" was supposed to be on. I guess it added to the mystery, it certainly didn't get in the way and now I know the film was shot in Turkey which, thinking back to that town, makes sense (what with the mosque).
One element that is both compelling and a bit goofy in its execution are the moon dreamsvisions. Alice claims that it is a movie that she saw years ago and those images now are haunting her for some reason and the scenes indeed seem like out of a different movie, especially the very brief bits with Klaus Kinski. It's compelling both because it made me wonder how this would fit into the mystery and because it addresses movies' likeness to dreams as well as dealing with the concept of movies having the power to transform in ones memory over time to become a dream or even something that you think really happened to you. Kinski seems wasted at first given his miniscule screen time but I'm sure it got him a nice paycheck for an hour's work so it really wasn't a waste at all. Erm, what I actually meant to say was that it wasn't wasted because those scenes indeed turn out to be memories of a movie she once saw (although I suppose it's open to interpretation) so it makes sense to cast a well-known movie star even for this very little role...and I guess it was cheaper to get Kinski than to get Marlon Brando.
As for my personal interpretation, to keep it as short as possible, as a teenager Alice had a vacation fling with a boy named Henry. They were very much in love with each other but she told him her name was Nicole which would make it impossible for him to ever find her in the future. Their ways parted. Now she has a stressful job that she doesn't like and feels very lonely and unhappy. These days she often thinks of him and she comes to associate the moon movie with Henry, she feels like she abandoned him. One day she unexpectedly finds out where to find her childhood love and off she goes. She puts all her hopes into this reunion and pretties herself up for him but when she finds him, or rather when she finds the adult that Henry has grown into it's a devastating disappointment for her, her memories were so much more perfect than the real thing. Traumatized she flies back home and erases the past two days from her memory. But when she wakes up she starts investigating the mystery of two lost days and unwittingly traces back her steps to an event that already ended in an emotional disaster which this time has even more severe consequences.
All this is told in surprisingly prosaic but consistently appealing images that shine even in a subpar DVD transfer and which often have something subtly futuristic about them, naturally this makes the whole space thing fit in quite well after all. As for this being a giallo, it's not, unless in the broader sense that it is both a mystery and Italian. This very much falls into the same category as Luigi Bazzoni's 'La donna del lago' but which in addition also has a crime at its center and has more of a horror feel to it. I found that film about male fantasy and desire to be more evocative throughout but apart from those things the two films have a lot in common and I think 'La donna del lago' would make a good companion piece if you liked 'Le orme'. I consider 'La donna del lago' to SORT of be the Italian 'Vertigo'. I guess this would sort of make 'Le orme' the Italian (and heterosexual) 'Mulholland Dr.', no?
Review by Perception_de_Ambiguity from the Internet Movie Database.