Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

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ellipsis7
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Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#1 Post by ellipsis7 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:02 pm

Announced today for La Biennale di Cinema 2018, a new restoration in the Venezia Classici section...
MORTE A VENEZIA (DEATH IN VENICE)
by LUCHINO VISCONTI (Italy, France, USA, 1971, 130’, COL.)
restoration: Cineteca di Bologna and Istituto Luce - Cinecittà in collaboration with Warner Bros. and The Criterion Collection
Full lineup of Venezia Classici here...

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domino harvey
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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#2 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:40 pm

Saw this for the first time recently and thought it was grotesque and awful. Look no further than the hideous sick joke of Borgarde’s makeover to see how ugly this movie’s attitude is towards its characters, its premise, and its audience. Then again, as I near having seeing all of Visconti's films, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that he's a mediocre-to-lousy director who lucked into making a few great films in the late 50s/early 60s (Rocco, La notti bianche, Boccaccio '70), so this was unlikely to ever change my mind...

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#3 Post by knives » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:56 pm

I'm basically in your camp (though I like like La terra trema and most of The Damned as well) and have to say that in particular this late era Visconti is awful. He really develops this bizarre self loathing streak (at its nadir here) that I just have no patience for.

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#4 Post by Robespierre » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:41 pm

So glad I'm not the only one who loathed this film. It's opulent and self-indulgent in all of the worst ways. I also adore Rocco and Notti Bianche.

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#5 Post by Werewolf by Night » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:07 pm

Geez, it’s not Visconti’s best film, but it also didn’t murder your puppy. Calm down, everybody.

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#6 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:40 pm

Puppy Heaven > Hell of watching this movie

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#7 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:42 pm

This is a favorite of mine. My quite opposite take: Visconti beautifully illustrates the ideas at play in Mann’s novella, namely a protagonist identifying beauty with the otherwordly, sensitive to ugliness (he keeps stumbling upon the grotesqueness of vulgar reality in many forms) and confronted, leading to his own death, with the “daemonic”, ambiguous dimension of art and beauty in this earth through the senses as incarnated in the vision of an effeminate/androgynous-looking adolescent between childhood and manhood, male and female. What might not get noticed as much as how these themes evoke Plato’s notion of the Beautiful, as it reaches through the senses – made most manifest in those scenes of Tadzio where the heavens meet the earth (the sea, the sand) –, and in this notion of a demiurge, albeit translated into modernist, 20th century ideas. An incredibly languorous film, if it feels at times bordering on the precious and ethereal itself, it itself strives for aesthetic perfection and presents us with sensuous beauty in its frequently incredibly beautiful cinematography, especially in the beach scenes, with decor and costumes that rival The Leopard for sheer gorgeousness, and awash in the transcendent music of Mahler.

(I once had a professor discuss the Plato-insights related to Death in Venice, the novella, that he said had came to him as a result of seeing the film, by chance, which I had already seen and was quick to agree with. Seems other people have noticed this as well. It's hard not to think that Visconti wasn't aware and ready to exploit the theme.)

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#8 Post by david hare » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:23 pm

Worst film ever made by a reputable director. No second worst, there 's then everything else V made after this. If for no other reason (and there are many) I loathe the picture as it's the apotheosis of some confected internalized homophobia, this coming from someone who was so fucking wealthy and influential he could buy and sell anything he wanted in life including his leading men. Playing to the crowd, except in this case it's the self hating queens (whom he perceived as his key audience) being given enough sentinmental, middelbrow faux arthouse slop to weep into their fucking Kleenexes for the next six months. Total dreck.

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#9 Post by John Cope » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:44 pm

Love late period Visconti, and this one especially. But of course I even love Conversation Piece.

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#10 Post by david hare » Sat Jul 14, 2018 2:00 am

I love you John Cope. Someone has to be there for it or I wouldn't bother.

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#11 Post by Lost Highway » Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:23 am

david hare wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:23 pm
Worst film ever made by a reputable director. No second worst, there 's then everything else V made after this. If for no other reason (and there are many) I loathe the picture as it's the apotheosis of some confected internalized homophobia, this coming from someone who was so fucking wealthy and influential he could buy and sell anything he wanted in life including his leading men. Playing to the crowd, except in this case it's the self hating queens (whom he perceived as his key audience) being given enough sentinmental, middelbrow faux arthouse slop to weep into their fucking Kleenexes for the next six months. Total dreck.
Well said. I watched the movie in my late teens while I was coming to terms with my sexuality and I’ve loathed it ever since.

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#12 Post by ellipsis7 » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:20 am

At the time of the original release, the music of Mahler which is featured in the film, in particular the "Adagietto" from his 5th Symphony leapt to huge popularity on the back of the outing... I've read criticism since of the quality of the performances, but a new BR release will at least correct the disastrous pitch change inherent with PAL speedup on the previous DVD releases in these parts (not as bad in NTSC Stateside I'm guessing)...

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#13 Post by R0lf » Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:55 am

Personally I love late Visconti because it's full of forty-five minute dinner scenes, side eye, and hat acting.

Ingrid Thulin doing a three-sixty to show off her bonnet during an exposition scene gives me the same rare thrill I feel watching Claudette Colbert do a three-sixty to show off the drape of her gown in CLEOPATRA!!

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#14 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:26 am

Everything takes so long in these late-period Viscontis, I think Giancarlo Giannini is still wandering around his estate debating whether to kill that baby even now

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#15 Post by SSF » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:49 am

david hare wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:23 pm
Worst film ever made by a reputable director. No second worst, there 's then everything else V made after this. If for no other reason (and there are many) I loathe the picture as it's the apotheosis of some confected internalized homophobia, this coming from someone who was so fucking wealthy and influential he could buy and sell anything he wanted in life including his leading men. Playing to the crowd, except in this case it's the self hating queens (whom he perceived as his key audience) being given enough sentinmental, middelbrow faux arthouse slop to weep into their fucking Kleenexes for the next six months. Total dreck.
Fellow gay man asking. Am I not to have sympathy for those who struggle with internalized homophobia?

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#16 Post by Werewolf by Night » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:19 am

Visconti is CANCELLED for not being LGBTQ-affirming enough in his 1971 major studio film adaptation—which Warner Bros. nearly didn’t release at all out of fear it would be banned for obscenity—of a 1912 book based on its author’s real-life struggles with his sexuality and his disgust at suddenly finding himself physically attracted to his own son, a book that was blasted by critics for introducing the subject of same-sex desire into the mainstream.

Yeah, can’t imagine why there’s a thread of self-loathing in the film.

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#17 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:30 am

Is your defense of this movie that Thomas Mann wanted to fuck his own son?

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Re: Forthcoming: Death in Venice (Visconti)

#18 Post by Werewolf by Night » Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:50 pm

domino harvey wrote:Is your defense of this movie that Thomas Mann wanted to fuck his own son?
Yes, yes. That’s exactly it. Thank you for clarifying my point.

I’m not defending the movie, I don’t even particularly like it. But not liking it specifically because it’s drenched in self-hatred and internalized homophobia is to miss the point of the film (and book) entirely. One could say that those feelings are the reasons both works exist in the first place. They so possessed their creators that they needed to be expressed (or maybe even expelled, like a demon, if you will). Sometimes art is off-putting and uncomfortable because it’s meant to be, sometimes because it can’t help being so.

To be honest, I think the film misses the mark for me because I don’t think Visconti went far enough with what’s in the book. I think he did something similar but better in Ludwig, which appears to be just as polarizing among the posters here for the same reasons. Hate Death in Venice if you want, but hate it because it’s rather dull and relies too heavily on Mahler to create any momentum, not because it accurately evokes its central themes and isn’t an affirming depiction of homosexual desire.

Anyway, imagine being Visconti and being told that the studio might not release your movie because it’s too “controversial” (i.e. gay)—the same year the same studio releases The Devils, A Clockwork Orange, and Dirty Harry.

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