The daughter of legendary Italian horror director Dario Argento, Asia Argento's career has seen her move from genre movies like 'xXx' and 'Land of the Dead' to more unusual fare like Sofia Coppola's 'Marie Antoinette' and Gus Van Sant's 'Last Days'. Now she's playing the lead role of the lovesick Zingarina in 'Transylvania', a strange but watchable arthouse film.
Two months pregnant with the child of a Romanian musician (Castoldi), Zingarina travels from France to his homeland in a Quixotic bid to be reunited with him. She actually finds him - and discovers that he wasn't deported from France; he just left her. Fragile to begin with, Zingarina goes off the rails with the revelation, deciding that she will adopt the Roma way of life. But out of personal trauma comes hope when she meets Tchangalo (Unel), a nomadic gold dealer who's just as much of a fiery character as she is.
Full of memorable images and great music, 'Transylvania' is a worthy addition to the road movie canon, and one which manages to convey messages about poverty and the price of progress through its story of two misfits whose paths cross in the middle of nowhere. Through its dialogue, this a film with an improvised feel, and in Argento and Unel has stars who are well-suited to such an approach. Whether it was the right approach, however, is another matter.
While 'Transylvania' is one of the more unusual films you'll see this year, it does give the feeling that more time should've been spent on the script. The transition which Argento's character goes through never feels believable, and she and Unel had more potential as an onscreen couple than what has ended up on screen. Ultimately the visuals are more powerful than the plot.