There are some films that you might put away for a while because you need to give yourself time to miss them. Asia Argento’s directorial debut in Scarlet Diva (2000) is one of those films. I used to watch this movie a lot, and it had been around eight or nine years since I’d last seen it. I was browsing my collection and it caught my eye, and then the memories started to come so I felt like I needed to put it on and revisit it.
Loosely based on Asia Argento’s life and also the star of the film, Scarlet Diva follows the life of the famous Italian actress Anna Battista who experiences the dark depths of the film industry. Battista is self-destructive, filling all her voids and loneliness with sex and drugs. She’s frustrated with her career because she wants to be seen as more than an actress, she wants to direct. Anna meets a lead singer of an American band and their connection is so strong that Anna instantly falls in love. They part ways and Anna eventually finds out that she’s pregnant. The musician abandons Anna, leaving her heart broken and uncertain on whether she can pull herself from her downward spiral and find some sort of salvation to recapture her innocence.
I like movies where I see characters fall and then they find themselves, it reminds me that we’re human. I think I was going through a really bad breakup when Scarlet Diva ended up in my possession so the movie was very profound to me, challenging me to find myself. I still love the movie today; I think Argento was magnificent in capturing the unexpected quick haze of a downfall and exposing the shady Hollywood system, her directing style is very raw and honest. In fact, there’s a sex scene in the movie that’s actually a real sex scene, it just kinda happened by accident. Argento uses color to express drama in the film. Much like her father Dario Argento, you see shades of blues and deep reds in the cinematography. Most of all, Argento’s performance is believable. You can see that she really cared about this project and how personal it was to her. Twenty years later, the movie is still a classic in my opinion.
This is a pretty old copy of Scarlet Diva, so the special features include an interview with Asia Argento, director’s commentary, the original theatrical trailer, liner notes and a photo gallery. The features are all pretty interesting and informative. If anything they’ll just encourage you to watch the movie maybe three or four more times. I hope that Scarlet Diva can leave an impact on you. It’s definitely worth a viewing.