The Innocent

Film - Feature | November 30 | 7-9:10 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

A book lying on red satin sheets serves as an appropriate opening image for Visconti’s last work, a film bursting with the abstractions of nineteenth-century philosophy and the concerns of twentieth-century political thought, yet fashioned with all the luxuriant beauty and operatic decadence the master filmmaker could muster. Freethinking aristocrat Tullio (Giancarlo Giannini) seems too concerned with his self-congratulatory atheism, fastidious looks, and gorgeous lover to ever notice his innocent wife. Fortunately for her, a young novelist arrives not only to entertain but to impregnate her. This shock paradoxically makes Tullio finally love his wife, but his lovemaking isn’t enough to get her back, leading him to more extreme—and eventually brutal—means. Visconti-the-intellectual tosses his Nietzschean superman of a hero into an entertainingly Dostoyevskian whirlpool of overwhelming jealousy, while Visconti-the-artist creates a film as giddily baroque, and wonderfully anachronistic, as anything in modern cinema.

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