Discovering the Passionate Films of Luchino Visconti
Sandra (Vaghe stelle dell’orsa)
In Sandra, the “Electra” myth takes the form of a gothic melodrama as a woman (Claudia Cardinale) returns to her ancestral home in Tuscany with its many secrets. Luchino Visconti develops the theme he would return to in his late career: family dysfunction and the death of an aristocracy rooted in classical ideals but hollowed out by decadence and corruption.
“The last remnants of exposed terracotta bricks and collapsed buildings surrounding the family’s palazzo serve as the perfect allegory for the rest of the film. As [the audience] watched the final twilight days of Italian ruling class with Don Fabrizio in The Leopard, we now experience the sad aftermath in Sandra.” —Film Monthly
“Visconti’s obsessive focus on family has been interpreted as compensatory, given the conflict between his staunchly traditional view of the institution and his homosexuality; according to [some], the director was tormented by his inability to become father and patriarch, bastion, and progenitor of the Visconti dynasty.” —Toronto film programmer James Quandt
• Luchino Visconti’s 1965 Sandra Deservedly Gets a Sparkling New Print —Village Voice