Luchino Visconti's last film based on a novella by Gabrielle d'Annunzio is a haunting account of aristocratic chauvinism and sexual double standards in turn of the century Italy. Giannini as the psichotic husband whose lust cannot be satisfied. Antonelli as his sensitive and tormented wife and O'Neil as cunning possesive mistress.Written by
Alex Asp <email@example.com>
Could we qualify a movie as Ardent? I think so, at least I do when remembering this film. Maybe it's because of the smoldering story it tells, maybe because of the passionate characters temperament, maybe because of the gleaming beauty of the surroundings, the extremely luxurious interiors of upper class old noblesse, with their incredibly gorgeous 'Fin de Siecle' gowns and jewels and objects and music... What a superb film!
Jennifer O'Neil devastatingly beautiful and seductive as the self-assured, selfish, spoiled, ambitious, self-seeking lover, as much as Laura Antonelli as the opposite side of the coin but in a lower key, as the humble and insecure, betrayed, embittered, resentful wife, but also devastatingly gorgeous. And Giancarlo Giannini, holder of the most beautiful male green eyes ever shown on a close up, and adding to that his fantastically sensuous voice.
We end up watching this ultra-refined European product that only a Visconti and very few other directors (Kubrick with "Barry Lindon") could have had the exquisiteness of taste to produce.
The libretto is first rate and overwhelming in its slow development (and that makes almost unbearable the unpredictable climax) leaving us almost as devastated as its female protagonist, when she walks away while an early dawn starts defining the outline of the magnificent garden surrounding that incredibly perfect building where life had just ceased to exist.
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