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Föreningen Film i Malmö presents
Luchino Visconti Double Feature
18:00 The Damned (1969, 156min)
21:00 Death in Venice (1971, 130min)
The Damned (1969)
Review ::: Director Luchino Visconti’s rich and ambitious 1969 saga of a wealthy interwar German industrialist family, based on the real-life Krupps, works in an imposing and impressive way. The story follows the family’s dramatic collapse during the Third Reich. The film is propelled by compellingly intense performances by Ingrid Thulin as the matriarch Baroness Sophie Von Essenbeck, Helmut Berger as her divinely decadent son Martin, and especially Dirk Bogarde as her ambitious Nazi lover, Friedrich Bruckmann.Renowned opera as well as movie director Visconti directs in his most operatic, lofty movie style, making it more grandly complicated and elaborate than perhaps strictly necessary but stopping just short of being overblown. Ambiguously, he seems both repelled by and in love with the smell of decay and degeneracy that’s all over his allegory of power. That’s the dilemma of being a Marxist count. And the only conclusion is that it corrupts of course.On show among the bizarre scenes that Jean Genet might have liked are Berger impersonating Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel and the full-blooded re-creation of the horrific, real-life military purge, the Night of the Long Knives. Both scenes can certainly be considered among the film’s highlights.
This is a most painstaking, intense and rewarding movie, whose huge budget ensures a startlingly beautiful production, marvellously captured in Armando Nannuzzi and Pasquale de Santis’s loving cinematography. Nicola Badalucco and Enrico Medioli help Visconti with the screenplay and there’s fine work on the score by Maurice Jarre and especially the production designs by Enzo del Prato and Pasquale Romano. http://tinyurl.com/y5tmvwzw
DEATH IN VENICE (1971)
Review ::: Dirk Bogarde’s extraordinary tour-de-force as an ageing German avant-garde composer Gustav von Aschenbach is the jewel in the crown of Luchino Visconti’s masterly 1971 film adaptation of the Thomas Mann novella Death in Venice. In the book, Aschenbach is an author, but Bogarde’s character is loosely based on the distinguished composer/conductor Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) and the actor takes his appearance and details in the film from Mahler too. Come to a turn-of-the-last-century Venetian seaside resort around 1900 to find rest and quiet at a time of artistic and personal stress, Aschenbach finds no peace at all. Instead he is quickly caught up in his troubling passion for an androgynously beautiful adolescent Polish boy, Tadzio (Bjorn Andresen, then 16), on holiday with his mother (Silvana Mangano) and family. The youth embodies an ideal of beauty that Aschenbach has long sought and he becomes totally infatuated. However, the onset of deadly cholera threatens everything and everybody, and they must leave or die. Apart from Andresen and Mangano, Bogarde’s other remarkable co-stars are Venice itself and the highly emotional Adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s 5th Symphony, which along with the 3rd was adapted as background music for the film. Pasquale de Santis’s gorgeous cinematography and art director Ferdinando Scarfiotti’s glorious production designs convince you that no one would possibly want to leave Venice. Location filming took place at St Marks’ Square, the Grand Hotel des Bains and the beach at Venice Lido and the alleyways behind the Opera House and Campiello dei Calegheri, with the studio work at Cinecittà Studios in Rome. Is it just a romantic, almost novelettish, tragic gay love story or a profound portrait of the artist as an old man and his inevitably doomed life, or the plague-destroyed quest after unattainable beauty and perfection? Or all of them? Any which way, Visconti and Bogarde have come up with one of the cinema’s masterworks.
Shamefully, only the superb costume design by Piero Tosi was even Oscar nominated and then didn’t win. It did win four Bafta awards though, for Best Cinematography (Pasqualino De Santis), Best Art Direction (Ferdinando Scarfiotti), Best Costume Design (Piero Tosi) and Sound Track (Vittorio Trentino, Giuseppe Muratori). Bogarde was surprisingly overlooked at the Baftas for Best Actor and so was Visconti for Best Direction. http://tinyurl.com/y3ukgee8