Avant garde artist Leonardo Ferri (Nero) decides life in Milan is stifling his artistic creativity, and persuades his agent and lover, Flavia (Redgrave), to rent a secluded villa, just outside Venice. Ferri's hopes of enjoying a period of tranquility are shattered by timeslips, disconcerting replays of the past and an unseen presence who appears to be targeting Flavia.
Petri's screenplay - set in the mid 60s' - tells the story of a beautiful countess who was murdered near the end of World War II, and of her continuing influence from beyond the grave. Petri does realise many genuinely chilling moments, though this is a long way from being traditional haunted house fare.
The central theme - Ferri's inability to distinguish fantasy from reality - succeeds in placing the viewer on level ground with the dazed and confused artist and a grating, yet entirely appropriate score, further adds to a sense of almost total disorientation.
Granted, A Quiet Place In The Country does occasionally threaten to slide into over-indulgence, but one of its main strengths may be that Petri was either unable or unwilling to play by the rules.
With this type of film, I guess the director can get away with practically any finale he cares to shoot: here, the ending works supremely well with a beautifully ironic closing line, delivered by a real class act.
This important work really does need a fully-loaded DVD release to raise public awareness of a beguiling mix of Nic Roeg and Mario Bava.