**Spolierlicious- beware!**

It isn't really a surprise, I guess, to find out that Anna is the killer after her dispatching of Alfredo. We see in her self-cuttings the influence that he has exerted upon her, and the way that each chance she has at happiness is brutally cut loose. In a way, The Stendhal Syndrome is kind of like a 180-degree flip from David Cronenberg's Scanners. In that film's conclusion, the mad scanner Revok 'wins' in a duel of psychic energy, annihilating the physical body of his brother, but the brother's consciousness now inhabits Revok's body, letting all the blood and exploding veins and such serve as a fertilizing rather than a destructive event. Anna 'wins' in that she kills Alfredo and dumps his body off a cliff, but his killing impulse and desire to methodically destroy her life lives on in her. What's really messed up, in fact, is the way that Anna's Stendhal Syndrome is only vanquished when she assumes some of the attributes of Alfredo. Briefly in Viterbo she becomes a creator, painting her own work, but this doesn't make it stop. It is only once her psyche fragments and she begins to act as Alfredo that she truly creates, and sadly, instead of painting, it is murder.

This is certainly one of the cruelest films to emerge from late-nineties horror, and I would call it one of the bleakest efforts I've ever seen if not for one grace note, one shining beacon of hope at the very end. As the policemen carry Anna away, it is not with intensity and pride at having caught a killer, rather it is with delicacy and care- they know her both as one who has endured the most horrifying of tragedies and as one of their own, and there is something very moving and beautiful about that final image of them carrying her.    




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