Also known as "The Footprints" - literal translation of Le Orme. And "Primal Impulse," huh, what? I saw it under that last name on the Sci Fi Invasion boxset. In what is sure to be an introspective and serviceable entry, I review it now!
I will admit first and foremost that I had completely lost enthusiasm for this boxset. It droned on for way too long, and I have to say that even though I only have 5 or so movies left I am still considering not finishing it. It just drains my desire to watch films. I somehow think I'll never look at movies the same after seeing this boxset, more because I'll be wondering what kept some random movie from 1963 OFF the set. Like, who still claims the rights to it, when will it be public domain, and what meaning it has that it's released on solo DVD (if it is).
Footprints on the Moon, however, is the exact reason I watch sets like this. This film is great. I say that with both pride and an eruption of joy for the set itself. Footprints on the Moon is one of those types of movies I love. It's got a real interesting mystery. It's got a interesting and hidden main character that we both feel empathy for but slightly distrust. It's got a high level of bizarreness to it that makes it feel almost David Lynchian. And it's got a real slow, developing storyline that would be easy to dismiss and find dull, but if you're into it it wraps you up with suspense. What's more, it's got a great soundtrack.
Alice is a woman that we never get a complete picture of. She's a single woman, strong but emotionless. She wakes up one day to discover that she doesn't remember the last few days, but there are signs that she was awake and active during those days. Alice finds small clues that lead her to other clues. She discovers that there is an island called Garma that is connected, as well as a dress that appears in her closet and is her size. Also, random memories of an old film she saw called Footprints on the Moon keep running through her mind.
She follows the clues to the island of Garma, where more clues pile up, a little girl named Mary and some of the town residents seem to know her. From there, the plot continues on as such. Alice has a lot of reveals and gains parts of the puzzle, some pieces leading to more questions instead of providing the answers. The haunting score drives the mystery home. I can tell Academy Award winning composers by the sound they create and I knew the guy that did this was good. Yup. Academy Award for Life is Beautiful composer. Also of note is the cinematography, beautifully captured despite pan and scan formatting. 3 time Academy Award winner Vittorio Storaro really captures this film well.
In the end, I really liked this. The great score, the weirdness factor, and the mystery of it all made me really reminded of Mulholland Drive, which I saw again recently. I see now where David Lynch perhaps gets some of his inspiration from. The strong female lead is definitely a missing ingredient in a lot of films, and Florinda Bolkan does a great job as a leading character.
The mystery payoff at the end is also one of those that you have to be paying attention to. This movie is not one that you should watch without paying attention, although I do have to say that even paying attention I'm not sure I "got" what was going on. It's left a bit vague, and that was the right call in my opinion. So, see it and decide for yourself. 4 stars.