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In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period of artistic and personal stress. But he finds no peace there, for he soon develops a troubling attraction to an adolescent boy, Tadzio, on vacation with his family. The boy embodies an ideal of beauty that Aschenbach has long sought and he becomes infatuated. However, the onset of a deadly pestilence threatens them both physically and represents the corruption that compromises and threatens all ideals. Written by
Eric Wees <email@example.com>
I first saw "Death in Venice" when it was initially released in 1971. Today, I saw it again (by chance!) while I was channel-surfing. It had the same hypnotic effect on me that it had then. To wit: I sat down, vacuum cleaner in hand, and remained there. In 1971, at age 21, I recognized the film's poignancy but not in the way I was able to now, at age 56. Yes, it's slow-moving and not very much "happens". But its beauty, especially the wonderful close-ups and the use of Mahler's music, endures. Those familiar with Thomas Mann's novella of the same name,and other of his works (e.g., The Magic Mountain) will recall that nothing much "happens" in these stories, either. However, these classics (both in print and film) are apt to remain with us long after the latest special effects action film has disappeared.
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