Luchino Visconti

  • Luchino Visconti – Il gattopardo AKA The Leopard [4K Restoration] (1963)

    Luchino Visconti1961-1970DramaItaly

    The Leopard is more than a tad too pleased by its own spots, but in this case the source material and its director’s intentions were almost accidentally an appropriate match. The film is based on Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s 1958 bestselling historical novel, which, all literary credentials aside, probably hit the exact same nerve in Italy that Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind did in America 20-odd years prior. Like the 1939 MGM adaptation of Mitchell’s Civil War soap opera, The Leopard seems more interested in the behavior of textiles and the performance of its own art director than it is with accurately depicting a truly historic national moment.Read More »

  • Luchino Visconti – Appunti su un fatto di cronaca (1951)

    Luchino Visconti1951-1960DocumentaryItalian Neo-RealismItalyShort Film

    A 12-year-old girl, Annarella Bracci, was raped and killed in the popular borough of Primavalle, Rome, one of the age-old cross-roads of Italy, at the time it was going through major construction and road development projects.
    In 1951, the Italian Censorship Commission didn’t allow the release of the movie. It was shown in Paris in 1953 and later lost, but a copy is reported to belong to the Cinématèque Royale in Brussels.
    Part of “Documento mensile,” a project for cine-journalism started by Riccardo Ghione and Marco Ferreri.Read More »

  • Luchino Visconti – Gruppo di famiglia in un interno AKA Conversation Piece (1974)

    Luchino Visconti1971-1980ArthouseDramaItalyQueer Cinema(s)

    The year is 1972. Master Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti is struck down by a stroke, rendering him, one would think, unable to continue making films—and this just two years after hitting a late-career high point with Death in Venice. But like many artists kept alive by their muse, Visconti heroically persevered, managing to complete two more films before finally succumbing to a heart attack in 1976. Adaptability being a key ingredient to any sort of artistic longevity, Visconti took his ailments not as hindrance, but as a challenge toward the realization of a new project. Taken by a story written by past collaborator Enrico Medioli and intrigued by the cinematic restrictions afforded such an intimate character study, Visconti—now very limited in his physical movements and activity—saw both personal and logistical promise in this tale of aging, nostalgia, and generational divide, which was entitled Conversation Piece after an illustrated novel of family portraits of the same name by Mario Praz.Read More »

  • Giuseppe De Santis, Luchino Visconti, Marcello Pagliero, Mario Serandrei – Giorni di Gloria AKA Days of Glory (1945)

    Luchino Visconti1941-1950DocumentaryGiuseppe De SantisItalyMarcello PaglieroMario Serandrei

    Giorni di Gloria has been called “the first documentary on the Resistance” (Antonio Vitti) and “the most revolutionary film in existence” (Paolo Gobetti). I prefer the film’s own dedication:

    «A tutti coloro che in Italia hanno sofferto e combattuto l´oppressione nazifascista è dedicato questo film di lotta partigiana e di rinascita nazionale»

    “For all those in Italy who have suffered and fought Nazi oppression, this film is dedicated to the partisan struggle and national rebirth.”

    The film is raw, brutal, humane, outraged and unflagging in its celebration of resistance in the service of political justice. The photography – credited to a dozen cinematographers, including Gianni Di Venanzo’s first film credit – is starkly beautiful.Read More »

  • Luchino Visconti – Lo straniero aka The Stranger (1967)

    1961-1970ArthouseItalyLuchino Visconti

    A man faces a trial for murder. The court is biased because of his personal qualities.Read More »

  • Luchino Visconti – Le notti bianche AKA White Nights (1957)

    1951-1960DramaItalyLuchino Visconti

    Le notti bianche (White Nights) occupies a central position within Luchino Visconti’s body of work. In appearance at least, it consummates a break with the neorealism of the 1940s and early 1950s and looks forward to The Leopard (1963), in its rendering of subjectivity by visual style, and to Vaghe stelle dell’orsa (Sandra; 1965), in its dependence on metaphor as a structuring device. But appearances can be deceptive, for in 1960, Visconti returned to realism with Rocco and His Brothers, and in its way, Le notti bianche is also fundamentally a realist film, in spite of its excursions into fantasy.Read More »

  • Luchino Visconti – Vaghe stelle dell’Orsa… AKA Sandra of a Thousand Delights (1965)

    1961-1970ClassicsDramaItalyLuchino Visconti

    Visconti’s retelling of the Electra story starts with Sandra/Electra (Cardinale) returning to her ancestral home in Italy – and reviving an intimate involvement with her brother (Sorel) which troubles her naive American husband (Craig) – on the eve of an official ceremony commemorating the death of her Jewish father in a Nazi concentration camp. As ever with Visconti, he is ambivalently drawn to the decadent society he is ostensibly criticising; and Armando Nannuzzi’s camera lovingly caresses the creaking old mansion, set in a landscape of crumbling ruins, where the incestuous siblings determine to wreak revenge on the mother (Bell) and stepfather (Ricci) who supposedly denounced their father. Something like a Verdi opera without the music, the result may not quite achieve tragedy, but it looks marvellous. The title, culled from a poem by Leopardi, has been better rendered as ‘Twinkling Stars of the Bear’.Read More »

  • Luchino Visconti – Ossessione AKA Obsession [+Extras] (1943)

    1941-1950CrimeDramaItalian Neo-RealismItalyLuchino Visconti

    Gino, a young and handsome tramp, stops in a small roadside inn run by Giovanna. She is unsatisfied with her older husband Bragana : she only married him for money. Gino and Giovanna fall in love. But Bragana is inhibiting for their passion, and Giovanna refuses to run away with Gino.Read More »

  • Luchino Visconti – Senso (1954)

    1951-1960DramaItalyLuchino ViscontiRomance

    This lush, Technicolor tragic romance from Luchino Visconti stars Alida Valli as a nineteenth-century Italian countess who, during the Austrian occupation of her country, puts her marriage and political principles on the line by engaging in a torrid affair with a dashing Austrian lieutenant, played by Farley Granger. Gilded with ornate costumes and sets and a rich classical soundtrack, and featuring fearless performances, this operatic melodrama is an extraordinary evocation of reckless emotions and deranged lust, from one of the cinema’s great sensualists.Read More »

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