Italy, 1965 (MIFF 1966, Programme 12)

Director: Luchino Visconti

After many years abroad, Sandra returns to her native town with her American husband, Andrew. They have come to attend the ceremony at which the family gardens are to be handed over to the city as a memorial to Sandra's Jewish father, who died in a concentration camp. Her brother Gianni is also staying in the house, and the meeting revives the deep and passionate affection they felt for each other in their troubled adolescence. . .

Visconti's latest film provides us with variations on the Electra theme of incestuous love. It is set in Volterra, which, like Thebes, is a city dying of a mortal sickness: it is gradually crumbling away. Elements of the ancient tragedy are moulded and adapted to provide the observation of the brother-sister relationship, with a rich complexity of form.

Yet in the long run, perhaps, more than the drama, more even than the eloquent suffering portrayed will be the fusion of styles, the visual beauty of the photography and décor that will be most remembered.

Grand Prix, Lion of St. Mark, Venice Festival.

See also...


Until the Risorgimento of 1839 Italy had been a cluster of feudal monarchies propped up by the crumbling Austrian Empire. Within a few years Garibaldi's vanguard of "Red Shuts" landed in Sicily and wo... More »


In 1947, Visconti went to Sicily with a small amount of capital advanced by the Communist Party, to make a film that expanded into a mammoth epic on the conditions of the poor workers and peasants of ... More »


Luchino Visconti's first film was based on James Cain's thriller 'The Postman Always Rings Twice', which was also made into a French film in 1939, and was turned into the celebrated Hollywood movie by... More »


The Intruder is based on D'Annunzio's book, The Innocent', transferred to the screen with minimal changes by Visconti. Set in the late 19th century, the plot tells of Tullio Hermil (Giancarlo Giannini... More »


... ... Visconti sketched out the Idea for Rocc e i suoi fratelli(Rocco and his Brothers) in spring 1958 producer Franco Cristaldi. He worked on a treatment with Vasco Pratolini the novelist and Suso ... More »


Self-preservation in the face of, and conformity to the dictates and ideologies of political power have made cowards of countless numbers of solid citizens. ... Just such a coward is Marcello who has ... More »

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