Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Visconti's Film Theory

Too often we film critics get a little lost in discussing the macro and micro that we forget to mention just how many pleasures a film can give us. This scene from Luchino Visconti's Bellissima (discussed further in such macro and micro terms here) went a long way to remind me of that. In it, Maddalena is taking a break from deciding her daughter's dreams for her to take in the outdoor cinema, and she's fortunate enough to be viewing a film of infinite pleasures - Howard Hawks' Red River. I'll let the unfortunately-colored subtitles do the rest of the talking. I excised two lines that didn't really affect the conversation, but this is otherwise the precise construction.

(I swear, Clift was on the screen before she turned her head!)

In a few seconds of screen time, Visconti re-invogorated the cinema for me, while adding considerably to it himself (Bellissima isn't exactly an ignored classic by any definition, but it's well worth seeking out). May we all keep in mind these oft-overlooked pleasures.

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