Monday, March 2, 2020


Luchino Visconti’s last film L’innocente, (1976)currently playing at Film Forum, is based on a late l9th century Gabrielle d’Annunzio novel of the same name whose translations are The Victim or The Intruder. Many Americans became acquainted with Visconti through his dramatization of The Leopard (1963), which starred Burt Lancaster and was also based on a novel, in that case a classic of Italian literature by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Both works deal with the l9th century Italian aristocracy. However, while The Leopard is historically focused on Garibaldi and the Risorgimento and its effect on a tragic figure caught between two worlds,  L’innocente is a portrait of a decadent and almost self-consciously narcissistic aristocrat. Giancarlo Giannini of Seven Beauties fame plays Tullio Hermil, a dandy whose life is devoted to the gratification of desire. Laura Antonelli plays Giulia his suffering wife and Jennifer O’Neill is Countess Teresa Raffo, the lover. For a late film L’innocente is oddly earthbound since its basic themes are both marital and oedipal jealousy and rage. While the settings are lush, the eroticism reeks of a turn of the century disenchantment and skepticism that almost strips it of emotion. One of the characters (Mark Porel) has written a novel and the subject of good and bad art is one of the themes. The notion that the characters are, in fact, acting out a work that has yet to be—their lives, is another element. Everything is estheticized and art for art's sake is a component of this universe. Part of the greatness of The Leopard lay in the breadth and expansive of its characters and settings. L’innocente, though filled with beautiful bodies and interiors, can be as insular as it is disturbing following as it does the predictable trajectory of its central character's ultimately murderous obsession.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.