Luchino Visconti

"The films of Luchino Visconti are among the most stylistically and intellectually influential of postwar Italian cinema. Born a scion of ancient nobility, Visconti integrated the most heterogeneous elements of aristocratic sensibility and taste with a committed Marxist political consciousness, backed by a firm knowledge of Italian class structure." - Joel Kanoff (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)

Luchino Visconti

Director / Screenwriter
(1906-1976) Born November 2, Milan, Lombardy, Italy
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: Italy, France
Key Genres: Drama, Family Drama, Period Film, Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama, Melodrama, Historical Epic, Historical Film, Marriage Drama
Key Collaborators: Suso Cecchi d'Amico (Screenwriter), Mario Serandrei (Editor), Enrico Medioli (Screenwriter), Mario Garbuglia (Production Designer), Ruggero Mastroianni (Editor), Pasqualino De Santis (Cinematographer), Franco Mannino (Composer), Silvana Mangano (Leading Actress), Massimo Girotti (Leading Actor), Helmut Berger (Leading Actor), Giuseppe Rotunno (Cinematographer), Armando Nannuzzi (Cinematographer)

"Visconti was a major theater director, and his films flaunted sumptuous costumes and settings, florid acting, and overpowering music... La Terra trema, Senso, Rocco and His Brothers, The Leopard, The Damned, Ludwig, and Conversation Piece all trace the decline of a family in a period of drastic historical upheaval. Visconti evokes the lifestyles of the rich, but he also usually reveals the class conflict that those lifestyles conceal. Foreign powers conspire with the ruling class to oppress the populace (Senso); the aristocrats must give way to democracy (The Leopard); a bourgeoisie collapses through its own corruption (The Damned)." - Kristin Thompson & David Bordwell (Film History: An Introduction, 2009)
"This Italian director offered strong, stern, unremitting portraits of societies, often high, and veneers crumbling under exterior pressures. Most of them are impressive, and beautifully decorated with all the visual elegance of a man who was both set designer and costume designer early in his career. However, after 1960, they have progressively less to offer in terms of entertainment. A trip to a late Visconti film became increasingly an occasion for admiration rather than enjoyment." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"A Marxist aristocrat, Count Don Luchino Visconti di Morone was widely praised for both the realism and vaguely politicised tone of his early films, and the operatic sumptuousness of his later historical costume dramas. Throughout his career, however, style dominated content; all too often, the result was camp, decorative melodrama disguised as solemn, socially significant art." - Geoff Andrew (The Film Handbook, 1989)
"The themes that predominate in his work are the solidarity and destructive power of family relationships, either corporate (as in The Damned and Rocco) or separate. Visconti's understanding of family as a dynastic entity is expanded in The Leopard and Senso, where he examines the substance of the old order, the challenge of the new." - Margaret Hinxman (The International Encyclopedia of Film, 1972)
"He was a great lover and director of opera, and his films are highly operatic in the intensity of feeling on display - often against the background of great historical events. It's an oeuvre that owes as much to Freud as it does to Marx. Visconti's homosexuality is also a key aspect of his vision. There's an uninhibited sensuousness about the way the camera dwells on beautiful young men in La terra trema, Rocco and His Brothers and, most obviously, in Death in Venice (1971), while Senso is almost entirely seen from the viewpoint of the lovelorn countess who is obsessed with Farley Granger's narcissistic pretty boy." - Tom Charity (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"Aristocrat, Marxist, Neo-Realist, theatre and opera director, and decadence-monger, Luchino Visconti was a man of contradictions, a fact that is reflected in his work." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"A director of intense, frequently opulent dramas, Visconti began his career as one of the purveyors of Italian neorealism (La Terra trema, 48) of a heavy, surging kind. Later he was more grandiose, cutting to the depths of human emotions in decadent atmospheres." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
La Terra trema (1948) , Senso (1954)
Recommended
Ossessione (1942) , Rocco and His Brothers (1960) , The Leopard (1963) , Ludwig (1972)
Worth a Look
Bellissima (1951), Appunti su un fatto di cronaca (1953), White Nights (1957), Of a Thousand Delights (1965), Death in Venice (1971) , Conversation Piece (1974), L'Innocente (1976)
Approach with Caution
The Damned (1969)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Luchino Visconti / Favourite Films
Battleship Potemkin (1925) Sergei Eisenstein, Les Enfants du paradis (1945) Marcel Carné, La Grande illusion (1937) Jean Renoir, Greed (1924) Erich von Stroheim, Hallelujah! (1929) King Vidor, The Lost Weekend (1945) Billy Wilder, Monsieur Verdoux (1947) Charles Chaplin, Que viva Mexico! (1932) Sergei Eisenstein, Stagecoach (1939) John Ford, Tabu (1931) F.W. Murnau.
Source: Cinematheque Belgique (1952)
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Rocco and His Brothers
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