Helmut Berger plays the title role as a loner tormented by unrequited love for his cousin, Empress Elisabeth of Austria Romy Schneideran obsession with the music of Richard Wagner, and excessive state-funded expenditures. Saturday, June 16, 1: As in similar Hollywood-plays-itself melodramas such as Sunset Boulevard and The Bad and the Beautiful, Bellissima both romanticizes the power of celluloid dreams and delivers a cuttingly cynical takedown of the industry. Sunday, June 10, 3:
Helmut Berger plays the title role as a loner tormented by unrequited love for his cousin, Empress Elisabeth of Austria Romy Schneideran obsession with the music of Richard Wagner, and excessive state-funded expenditures.
Saturday, June 16, 1: As in similar Hollywood-plays-itself melodramas such as Sunset Boulevard and The Bad and the Beautiful, Bellissima both romanticizes the power of celluloid dreams and delivers a cuttingly cynical takedown of the industry.
Sunday, June 10, 3: Once again the actor is cast as an emblem of Old World honor passing into obsolescence, here a retired professor living out a quiet retirement in his art-stuffed Roman palazzo; his dignified solitude is drastically upended by a turbulent marchesa a serpentine Silvana Mangano and her bisexual boy toy Helmut Berger who insinuate themselves into his life.
Visconti masterfully interweaves a provocative shuffling of ideas—on class, sex, art, fascism—in what is ultimately his own disquieting confrontation with mortality. Friday, June 15, 9: Saturday, June 16, 8: Friday, June 8, 6: When his tormented wife Laura Antonelli pursues a dalliance with a writer, the full monstrousness of his chauvinism is unleashed.
Working with a late-career rigorousness, Visconti returns one last time to the luxuriant, red velvet world of the 19th century, stripping away operatic excess in favor of a supremely controlled emotional intensity.
Saturday, June 16, 6: A bewhiskered Burt Lancaster is the leonine patriarch of a ruling class Bourbon family in the last gasps of its dominance as Garibaldi and his redshirts upend social order and a new spirit ascends—embodied by beautiful people Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale.
With fastidious attention to period detail, Visconti evokes a gilded world fading into oblivion, his camera gliding over baroque palazzos, magnificent banquets, and ornate ceremonies. It all culminates in a majestic, dusk-to-dawn ball sequence that is as poignant as it is breathtaking.
Restoration funding by Gucci and The Film Foundation. Friday, June 15, 6: In blending the sordid source material with an earthy evocation of underclass life, Visconti incurred the wrath of the Fascist censors, who promptly suppressed the film.
Saturday, June 9, 5: The director turned to Giovanni Testori, Thomas Mann, Dostoevsky, and Arthur Miller for inspiration, achieving a truly epic sweep for this story of a mother and her grown sons who head north from Lucania in search of work and new lives.
In one beautifully realized scene after another, we observe a tightly knit family coming apart, one frayed thread at a time. Friday, June 8, 2: Italy,m; Italian with English subtitles Shady family secrets, incestuous siblings, descents into madness, decades-old conspiracies.
Shooting in a decaying mansion set amidst a landscape of ruins, Visconti came upon the great theme he would return to in his late career:Moderation / Criticism / Exposition / Exposés David Aaronovitch. Catholics try, rather unconvincingly, to show how conferring sainthood is different in principle to the pagan apotheosis (the process that made Claudius, for instance, into a God), but the distinction doesn't quite wash.
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