“Not many directors have had such a total belief in style. Luchino Visconti worked through total artifice as a way to the truth.” —Martin Scorsese

Luchino Visconti, a member of Italian nobility, belonged to the Italian Communist Party during World War II. He was openly gay, staunchly Catholic, and inhabited a complicated, paradoxical, role in Italian cinema culture. A leader in the Neorealism movement, he also worked with international stars like Helmut Berger, Dirk Bogarde, Alain Delon, and Burt Lancaster. Visconti (1906–1976) produced an oeuvre of modest and humane dramas as well as decadent, sprawling historical spectacles. Deftly aware of the subtle and rich means of cinematic expression, he uniquely imposed the narrative customs of opera and the novel onto film, yet remained sharply attuned to the social and political climates of the 20th century.

This touring film series originated at the Harvard Film Archive in May, continuing to sites including the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City; the Toronto International Film Festival; BAMPFA in Berkeley, California; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago; the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio; and the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles.

Organized in collaboration with Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero of Istituto Luce Cinecittà. Coproduced by Istituto Luce Cinecittà, Rome. Presented in association with the Ministry of Culture in Italy.

Generous funding has been received from the Vaughn Foundation

Additional funding and support has been provided by the Italian Consulate.


Senso

1954, Italian and German with English subtitles
Digital
Luchino Visconti

Set during Italy’s struggle for unification, filmmaker Luchino Visconti’s operatic melodrama Senso is a lush portrait of seduction and betrayal, decadence and deceit.

Ludwig

1973, Italian, German, and French with English subtitles
Digital
Luchino Visconti

Luchino Visconti’s laivsh film about Bavaria’s King Ludwig II is a study of romantic ambition in the era of 19th-century decadence.

Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia)

1971, English, Italian, Polish, French, Russian, and German with English subtitles
Digital
Luchino Visconti

Loosely based on Thomas Mann’s novella, Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice centers on a sickly composer who becomes dangerously fixated on a teenage boy.

Il Gattopardo (The Leopard)

1963, Italian with subtitles

Luchino Visconti

In this historical drama by filmmaker Luchino Visconti, Burt Lancaster stars as a patriarch of a ruling-class family in its last gasps of dominance during Italy’s period of reunification.


Past Events in This Series

Sandra (Vaghe stelle dell’orsa)

1965, Italian with English subtitles
Digital
Luchino Visconti

Luchino Visconti’s interpretation of 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.

Obsession (Ossessione)

1946, Italian with English subtitles
Digital
Luchino Visconti

In Luchino Visconti’s first film, a loose adaptation of the 1934 crime novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, a drifter has an affair with a married café owner in post-World War II Italy 

Rocco and His Brothers

1960, Italian with English subtitles
DCP
Luchino Visconti

During the Italian economic boom following World War II, a tightly knit family comes apart in Luchino Visconti’s epic drama starring Alain Delon.

White Nights (Le notti bianche)

1957, Italian with English subtitles
35mm
Luchino Visconti

Marcello Mastroanni stars in Luchino Visconti’s tale of all-consuming love and loss.

The Earth Trembles (La terra trema)

1948, Italian with English subtitles
Digital
Luchino Visconti

A Sicilian fishing village struggles with the arrival of a labor union.

Bellissima

1951, Italian with English subtitles
35mm
Luchino Visconti

A stage mother (Anna Magnani) learns the hard truths about show business.