September 10, 2007 / 1:41 AM / 12 years ago

Horror film debuts as family affair

TORONTO (Reuters) - “Mother of Tears,” the final part in a horror trilogy from Italian director Dario Argento, is very much a family affair.

Director of the movie Dario Argento poses with his daughter and cast member Asia Argento at the premiere of "Mother of Tears: The Third Mother" during the 32nd Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, September 6, 2007. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

The movie, which made its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival this week, stars Dario’s daughter Asia, as well as Asia’s mother, Daria Nicolodi, who co-wrote the trilogy’s first installment and was lead actress in the second. His brother Claudio co-produced.

“Mother of Tears” follows “Suspiria” (1977) and “Inferno” (1980) — stories about powerful witches who have been shedding blood for eons.

Dario, a cult figure in the horror genre, said it wasn’t until three years ago that he began thinking about the third installment and Asia’s wish for a role.

She plays Sarah Mandy, a young student of art restoration in Rome, who is the target of a coven of witches after an ancient urn is opened and the prophecy of the Second Age of Witches is set in motion.

A wave of violent crimes and suicides takes over the city, until Sarah is helped by the ghost of her mother, played by Asia’s real mother, who turns out to be a powerful good witch.

Dario and Daria have been divorced for years but say they have a good working relationship.

Asia and Dario describe themselves as “film buddies” and insist that their father-daughter relationship is unique in the film industry.

“Maybe one film, but not continuously. All during life,” Dario, 67, said in an interview.

“We’re best friends in film. We work together really well,” said Asia.

Asia, 31, has been following in her father’s footsteps for years, directing “Scarlet Diva” in 2000, which she also wrote and starred in.

“He always encouraged me. He saw in me that I was a director before I could even see it,” she said. “I always wish for him to be proud of me as a director more than an actress.”

Asia began acting when she was 9, but a professional collaboration with her father didn’t begin until 1993 when she was cast as an anorexic girl in search of her parent’s killer in “Trauma.”

They subsequently worked together on “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Stendhal’s Syndrome.”

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“She has one quality ...,” he says in English before switching to Italian and looking to his daughter for help with the translation.

Asia listens for a moment and says her father says her movies are told “profoundly, but in a light way.”

And that he’s “jealous” of that.

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