Count Don Luchino Visconti di Modrone
Here’s a sampling of my favorite Luchino Visconti films.
Visconti’s early Ossessione is a version of the James M. Cain novel The Postman Always Rings Twice upon which the classic American movie with Lana Turner and John Garfield is also based. I’m fascinated with its beauty and atmosphere. It amazes me that Visconti is able to render emotional states so accurately. After the murder, for example, Visconti doesn’t even require any action or dialog to convey perfectly their change in mood. A simple exterior shot of the roadhouse shows it immediately, before we hear their conversation.
I like Ossessione because the gay Visconti has given it an appealing supporting character I can only interpret as gay and attracted to the hero. (Again, get over it! I’ve nominated seven moviemaking heroes and one of them happens to be gay. It’s not statistically unreasonable. No favoritism. But, obviously, I do enjoy it when one of my own kind does great things.)
I’m also fascinated with Visconti’s late epic Il Gattopardo (The Leopard).
His Le Notti Bianche is adapted from the equally haunting Dostoevsky story White Nights.
Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers) is one of the very greatest films ever made.
This post, the last of a series of seven, is unabashed hero worship. A few years ago, making up an earlier version of this page, I decided that among all the filmmakers I’ve liked, there were seven who really especially blow me away.
I’ve had time to think since, and haven’t changed my mind. There are plenty of “honorable mentions” I love, but there are seven who are extra special and this is one of them.