‘Senso’ Trailer: Luchino Visconti’s Ambitious Italian Melodrama Gets a Fresh Restoration — Watch

Exclusive: New York City’s Film Forum will screen the new restoration, complete with updated subtitles by noted translator Michael F. Moore.

When lauded Italian director Luchino Visconti first conceived of his big screen adaptation of Camillo Boito’s novella “Senso,” the “La Terra Trema” filmmaker aimed high: he wanted to cast no less than Ingrid Bergman and Marlon Brando in the film’s lead roles, a conspiring contessa and an Austrian deserter who woo amidst the dying embers of the Risorgimento. Both casting plans were waylaid by strange industry politics — Bergman’s then-husband Roberto Rossellini didn’t want the actress to work with other directors, while the film’s producers weren’t sold on the star power of Brando (who, in turn, wasn’t sold on the project without Bergman).

Still, “Senso” managed to make it to the big screen with some serious talent behind it: prolific Italian actress Alida Valli snagged the lead role, while Hollywood heavy hitter Farley Granger came on as her jilted lover. Behind the scenes, Visconti lined up eventual directors Franco Zeffirelli and Francesco Rosi as his own assistants. He’d need the help, because with just three films under his belt, Visconti was already looking to do something new, leaving behind his Neorealist past, working in color for the first time, and eventually facing off with a Ministry of Defense that was bent on cutting a key scene.

It worked out. The film, which follows Valli as disaffected countess Livia Serpieri as she embarks on an ill-fated love affair with Granger’s Austrian officer Franz Mahler during the Italian-Austrian war of unification, emerged as a lush and fantastic melodrama, and one that earned Visconti a Golden Lion nomination at the 15th Venice International Film Festival.

New York City’s Film Forum will open a restored “Senso” for two weeks on October 26, followed by screenings in other major U.S. markets. The restored “Senso” includes subtitles created by noted interpreter and translator Michael F. Moore. His most recent translations include “Agostino” by Alberto Moravia, “The Drowned and Saved” by Primo Levi, and “The Animal Gazer” by Edgardo Franzosini. Moore is currently working on a new translation of the 19th century classic “The Betrothed” by Alessandro Mazoni.

On November 4, Film Forum will unspool a special 35mm screening of the little-seen dubbed English-language version of the film, “The Wanton Countess,” complete with dialogue by Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles.

Check out IndieWire’s exclusive trailer for the restoration below.

‘The Damned’ Theater Review: Ivo van Hove Wrestles Luchino Visconti and Loses

J.K. Rowling and the late Luchino Visconti suddenly have something in common. You need to have ingested several of the “Harry Potter” novels and movies to know what’s going on in the current Broadway play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Likewise, you need to have seen Visconti’s 1969 film about Nazis to know what’s going on in Ivo van Hove’s “The Damned,” which opened Tuesday at the Park Avenue Armory.

What sword play is to the one, sordid sex is to the other.

Actually, dramaturg Bart Van den Eynde has toned down the character of Martin von Essenbeck, who, as played by Helmut Berger in the film, offered a veritable smorgasbord of sex. (No “author” is given for van Hove’s production, although it’s reportedly “based on the work of Luchino Visconti, Nicola Badalucco, and Enrico Medioli,” the team responsible for the screenplay.)

Also Read: ‘Fire in Dreamland’ Theater Review: Should Jeff Sessions Be Targeting Dutch Immigrants?

In the film, Martin takes out his frustrations for being the spoiled grandson of steel titan Joachim von Essenbeck by not only bedding a local wench but little girls, a manservant and his widow-mother, Sophie — whose lover, Friedrich Bruckmann, is in cahoots with her to wrest away the family business and, in the process, fully embrace Hitler. But what really makes Martin the black sheep of the family is that he dresses up like Marlene Dietrich in “The Blue Angel.”

In van Hove’s “The Damned” (or is it Van den Eynde’s?), Christophe Montenez’s epicene Martin wears eye makeup and high heels at Grandpa’s birthday party, but otherwise keeps it very same-sex with the girlfriend and the little girls (the depiction of pedophilia on stage is much more graphic and prolonged than in the film). And he doesn’t bed mom; rather, he tars and feathers Sophie (Elsa Lepoivre) after she has had several relatives murdered in her climb to the top.

Whenever someone is offed, he or she is walked to one of six coffins at the side of the stage. Not only is the march to the graveyard documented by one of two cameramen, each slow death by asphyxiation inside the coffin is projected onto a large upstage screen. Since we watch each agonizing Edgar Allan Poe-style death in close-up, one wonders whose ashes are being poured simultaneously into the large downstage urn as steam rises and a piercing “Sweeney Todd” whistle signals the news.

Also Read: ‘Trainspotting’ Theater Review: The Needles Are Real, the Other Stuff Is Not

Other over-the-top displays of theatrical derring-do include the following: Martin spreading his naked body with the ashes of Sophie and Friedrich’s victims, Martin’s uncle (Denis Podalydes) and a very hunky Brownshirt buddy (Sebastien Baulain) soaking themselves in beer (smells like beer) and then fake blood to depict the Night of the Long Knives, several photo-cam shots of the audience (pointing to themselves onscreen), and a long mobile shot of Lepoivre as she leaves the auditorium to wander the halls of the Armory (doubling beautifully as the home of a wealthy Nazi) and runs out onto Park Avenue, where (at my performance) she frightens a woman walking her terrier.

The effects range from stunning to ridiculous to stunningly ridiculous.

Van Hove is beginning to repeat himself and others. With the simple use of a large mirror, Hal Prince more effectively made the audience a co-conspirator in the original 1966 production of “Cabaret.” And Podalydes and Baulain’s wet dance replicates Michael C. Hall’s juicy slide in van Hove’s production of “Lazarus.”

Also Read: ‘Mary Page Marlowe’ Theater Review: Tatiana Maslany Stands Out in Tracy Letts’ Jumbled New Drama

What with all the Nazi sex and murder going on, “The Damned” isn’t a colossal bore like van Hove’s 2010 revival of “The Little Foxes” at the New York Theatre Workshop. But under his direction, both dramas are reduced. Van Hove is great when he tackles a classic tragedy. But “The Damned,” when you strip away Visconti’s incredibly dense mise-en-scene, is nothing more than “The Big Foxes” in this cut-down version.

At their heart, both are melodramas about absolute villains and total victims absence any nuance. And without any subtext for van Hove to play with or bring to the fore, his staging turns into flashy window dressing. Instead of following the drama, we wait for the next big set piece to arrive and titillate.

In between the beer-sliding and the ash-dumping and the whistle-blowing, the actors perform not for us but the cameramen. They give subtle performances, and often times real tears drop on cue. But sometimes that big movie screen isn’t showing the actors in close-up. Instead we’re watch a Nazi documentary on steel production or photos of the Holocaust, or the camera’s image freezes on a dining room table or an inanimate prop, or the screen simply goes black.

Also Read: Gary Beach, Tony-Winning Star of Broadway’s ‘The Producers,’ Dies at 70

Meanwhile, the actors are still performing scenes for a camera that’s focused elsewhere. The actors are well-rehearsed; the camerawork, on the other hand, is pretty sloppy. And often it’s difficult even to tell who’s talking, since the sound is all loud and homogenized.

“The Damned” comes to the Armory from the Comedie-Francaise, and is performed in French with English surtitles.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Fire in Dreamland’ Theater Review: Should Jeff Sessions Be Targeting Dutch Immigrants?

‘Trainspotting’ Theater Review: The Needles Are Real, the Other Stuff Is Not

‘Mary Page Marlowe’ Theater Review: Tatiana Maslany Stands Out in Tracy Letts’ Jumbled New Drama

J.K. Rowling and the late Luchino Visconti suddenly have something in common. You need to have ingested several of the “Harry Potter” novels and movies to know what’s going on in the current Broadway play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Likewise, you need to have seen Visconti’s 1969 film about Nazis to know what’s going on in Ivo van Hove’s “The Damned,” which opened Tuesday at the Park Avenue Armory.

What sword play is to the one, sordid sex is to the other.

Actually, dramaturg Bart Van den Eynde has toned down the character of Martin von Essenbeck, who, as played by Helmut Berger in the film, offered a veritable smorgasbord of sex. (No “author” is given for van Hove’s production, although it’s reportedly “based on the work of Luchino Visconti, Nicola Badalucco, and Enrico Medioli,” the team responsible for the screenplay.)

In the film, Martin takes out his frustrations for being the spoiled grandson of steel titan Joachim von Essenbeck by not only bedding a local wench but little girls, a manservant and his widow-mother, Sophie — whose lover, Friedrich Bruckmann, is in cahoots with her to wrest away the family business and, in the process, fully embrace Hitler. But what really makes Martin the black sheep of the family is that he dresses up like Marlene Dietrich in “The Blue Angel.”

In van Hove’s “The Damned” (or is it Van den Eynde’s?), Christophe Montenez’s epicene Martin wears eye makeup and high heels at Grandpa’s birthday party, but otherwise keeps it very same-sex with the girlfriend and the little girls (the depiction of pedophilia on stage is much more graphic and prolonged than in the film). And he doesn’t bed mom; rather, he tars and feathers Sophie (Elsa Lepoivre) after she has had several relatives murdered in her climb to the top.

Whenever someone is offed, he or she is walked to one of six coffins at the side of the stage. Not only is the march to the graveyard documented by one of two cameramen, each slow death by asphyxiation inside the coffin is projected onto a large upstage screen. Since we watch each agonizing Edgar Allan Poe-style death in close-up, one wonders whose ashes are being poured simultaneously into the large downstage urn as steam rises and a piercing “Sweeney Todd” whistle signals the news.

Other over-the-top displays of theatrical derring-do include the following: Martin spreading his naked body with the ashes of Sophie and Friedrich’s victims, Martin’s uncle (Denis Podalydes) and a very hunky Brownshirt buddy (Sebastien Baulain) soaking themselves in beer (smells like beer) and then fake blood to depict the Night of the Long Knives, several photo-cam shots of the audience (pointing to themselves onscreen), and a long mobile shot of Lepoivre as she leaves the auditorium to wander the halls of the Armory (doubling beautifully as the home of a wealthy Nazi) and runs out onto Park Avenue, where (at my performance) she frightens a woman walking her terrier.

The effects range from stunning to ridiculous to stunningly ridiculous.

Van Hove is beginning to repeat himself and others. With the simple use of a large mirror, Hal Prince more effectively made the audience a co-conspirator in the original 1966 production of “Cabaret.” And Podalydes and Baulain’s wet dance replicates Michael C. Hall’s juicy slide in van Hove’s production of “Lazarus.”

What with all the Nazi sex and murder going on, “The Damned” isn’t a colossal bore like van Hove’s 2010 revival of “The Little Foxes” at the New York Theatre Workshop. But under his direction, both dramas are reduced. Van Hove is great when he tackles a classic tragedy. But “The Damned,” when you strip away Visconti’s incredibly dense mise-en-scene, is nothing more than “The Big Foxes” in this cut-down version.

At their heart, both are melodramas about absolute villains and total victims absence any nuance. And without any subtext for van Hove to play with or bring to the fore, his staging turns into flashy window dressing. Instead of following the drama, we wait for the next big set piece to arrive and titillate.

In between the beer-sliding and the ash-dumping and the whistle-blowing, the actors perform not for us but the cameramen. They give subtle performances, and often times real tears drop on cue. But sometimes that big movie screen isn’t showing the actors in close-up. Instead we’re watch a Nazi documentary on steel production or photos of the Holocaust, or the camera’s image freezes on a dining room table or an inanimate prop, or the screen simply goes black.

Meanwhile, the actors are still performing scenes for a camera that’s focused elsewhere. The actors are well-rehearsed; the camerawork, on the other hand, is pretty sloppy. And often it’s difficult even to tell who’s talking, since the sound is all loud and homogenized.

“The Damned” comes to the Armory from the Comedie-Francaise, and is performed in French with English surtitles.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Fire in Dreamland' Theater Review: Should Jeff Sessions Be Targeting Dutch Immigrants?

'Trainspotting' Theater Review: The Needles Are Real, the Other Stuff Is Not

'Mary Page Marlowe' Theater Review: Tatiana Maslany Stands Out in Tracy Letts' Jumbled New Drama

‘Visconti: A Retrospective’ Exclusive Trailer: Film Society of Lincoln Center Presents the Italian Master’s Entire Oeuvre — Watch

The series runs June 8–29.

Making all of us not in New York jealous yet again, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has partnered with Istituto Luce Cinecittà to present a complete retrospective of Luchino Visconti’s feature films. Most of the Italian master’s work, from “The Leopard” and “Rocco to His brothers” to “Senso” and “Death in Venice,” will be screening on new restorations and imported prints; the series will conclude with a weeklong run of “Ludwig,” playing here on a new 35mm print. Avail yourself of a trailer for the series below.

Visconti’s films are a sensory delight, and “The Leopard” — based on Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s majestic novel of the same name — is especially acclaimed. His 1963 adaptation, which runs just shy of three hours, won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and was released on DVD and Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection. FLSC’s look back at Visconti’s career doesn’t stop there, as “Bellissima,” “Conversation Piece,” “The Damned,” “The Innocent,” “Sandra,” “Ossessione,” “The Stranger,” “La Terra trema,” and “White Nights” are represented as well.

There’s also a shorts program comprised of “Anna Magnani,” “The Job,” and “The Witch Burned Alive” that runs just under two hours. “Visconti: A Retrospective — about which more information may be found here — runs June 8–29.

 

‘The Leopard’ to Be Adapted Into English-Language TV Series (EXCLUSIVE)

More than half a century after Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon and Burt Lancaster strutted down the Cannes red carpet for Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard,” plans are under way for an English-language TV adaptation of the classic novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Italian shingle Indiana Production (“The Leisure Seeker”) has acquired rights to the book… Read more »

More than half a century after Claudia Cardinale, Alain Delon and Burt Lancaster strutted down the Cannes red carpet for Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard,” plans are under way for an English-language TV adaptation of the classic novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Italian shingle Indiana Production (“The Leisure Seeker”) has acquired rights to the book... Read more »