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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...


Italy, 1963
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 w… More »


Italy, 1976
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 Giannin… More »

Costumes from the Films of Visconti

Australia, 1978
Luchino Visconti's meticulous concern for design and detail is demonstrated in this documentary record of an exhibition of some of the costumes especially made for his films. ... More »


Italy, 1942
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 b… More »


Italy, 1948
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 »

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