Michelangelo Antonioni: "It seems that boredom is one of the great discoveries of our time. If so, there''s no question but that he must be considered a pioneer."\
Federico Fellini: "He''s gifted like others are gifted today. In truth, he suffers from being a little provincial boy. His films are like the dreams of a country boy imagining what it''s like to be in the big city. His greatest danger: to be a very great director with precious little to say."\
Ingmar Bergman: "I don''t begin to share his way of seeing things any more than his obsessions. All the same I find him interesting. And his universe is much stranger yet than any Japanese filmmaker."
The way you phrased it, OP, I thought these were statements [bold]about[/bold] Visconti by these three directors not the other way around. What gives?
Was H.B.''s asshole sensitive because it was so thoroughly used?
Welll, Visconti called it right on Antonioni. Those movies are like a coma on celluloid.
Sorry, R1 and R3, I can see what you mean.\
Noww, dare I admit I *liked* "L''avventura"?
I''m a fan of the three he bashes. Antonioni''s movies are definitely of their time but totally chic, thoughtful and mysterious. Fellini and Bergman do not need me to defend them. \
Visconti was a spoiled little rich boy who made movies that at their best could be called "deliberately paced". They make Merchant Ivory look like action filmmakers. Have you tried getting through "The Leopard"? MOVE the camera, doll face. DO something. Pretty sets aren''t enough. \
What an asshole.
Also, the three names he bashes - if you bring them up to film lovers - instantly conjure up a specific world. Say "Visconti" and most will have a vague notion of his aesthetic and world view because he made vague, unfocused movies.
I don''t find his comment about Bergman that harsh, or inaccurate. \
The other 2 comments are pure bitch.
R10, what he says about Fellini is the exact thing that made his movies larger than life. He was an enthusiast, not a cool, detached observer like Antonioni. Its a weird insult in that Fellini''s "country child at the circus" view of the world is the exact quality that made him distinctive and Fellini-esque. \
And anyone who creates this homoerotic masterpiece is fine in my book
No, R2, Helmut Berger''s asshole was sensitive because it cried at weddings.
Well he was a duke. Dukes are allowed their foibles. Especially when it comes to filming lithe hitler youth half naked, as in The Damned. I love the story about him insisting real marble be laid on the floor of the villa set and then arriving, tapping his cane on it saying "I think not" and returning to his Rolls and villa, with word then sent down that it was to be ripped up and replaced with parquet. MGM''s accountants must have had heart attacks.\
I don''t see what he saw in Berger (apart from being a Ludwig II lookalike). Horst, yes. Someone I know met him. Told me he had a thing about having sex on trains. Reminded him of his youth. Orient Express and all that.
[quote]Have you tried getting through "The Leopard"? MOVE the camera, doll face. DO something. Pretty sets aren''t enough. \
I have to disagree politely with your assessment. THE LEOPARD was a three hour film that I wished was even longer. It captured both the detail and the tone of the brilliant novel in a way that few film adaptations do.
I love ''The Leopard'' too, and long to see it again on the big screen. I gather Visconti planned a version of Proust (with Bogarde), but death proved a setback. Too bad: another lost masterpiece to file with Kubrick''s ''Napoleon'' and Lean''s ''Nostromo.''
R14, I have to note that Luchino Visconti was not a duke, but a count, "Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo"; his father was the Duke of Grazzano.\
Until Italy became a republic, anyway. I don''t know if the Italian Republic provided any recognition of nobility.
"Death in Venice" (the "film") is a piece of shit.
The scene in the barber shop is one of my faves on celluloid.
Wow, r18. I think it is one of the truly lovely movies. Every scene is like a painting.
I agree with r1. I was tempted to see these as three statements about Visconti.\
Of course to call Visconti a provincial wouldn''t make any sense at all given his background. The other way around makes a lot of sense and is much more of a snub.\
What I find curious however is that, with due respect to both maestri, Visconti would object to Antonio on the grounds of boredom.\
Let''s compare The Leopard to Blow Up!
Death in Venice seems to me a perfect film of the novella in spirit, ambience and rhythm. Perhaps too loyal, but then again, if ever a work of literature called out for loyalty, it was that one. Hardly any reason for a filmmaker to go outside the box or lean to overdirection.
I do like Visconti''s THE DAMNED.
I like Visconti''s major films like THE DAMNED, THE LEOPARD and the very long LUDWIG - he is great with performers like Romy Schneider, Claudia Cardinale and Dirk Bogarde. DEATH IN VENICE was fine once, but I wouldn''t want to see it again, whereas that long ball sequence in THE LEOPARD is something I can watch regularly. \
I love though Antonioni''s films - particuartly BLOWUP, THE PASSENGER and that Italian trilogy - L''AVVENTURA, thankfully they are all on dvd now. Monica Vitti is endlessly fascinating and enigmatic and stunningly attractive. That early 60s look is still the height of chic.\
Never liked Fellini at all, though LA DOLCE VITA and LA STRADA are important films... SATYRICON sounds good but is practically unwatchable. AMARCORD is surely his most accessible.
To see Visconti''s Ludwig is to understand the bustle. The long shot of Romy Schneider walking along the pier, you really get how unbelievably sexy it could be! And Berger is the spitting image of the King.\
The actor Bjorn Andressen made Death In Venice a misfire. Why Visconti thought he was catnap beats me. How could an audience empathise with Bogart''s enrapturement when the actor playing Tadzio was just a bowl of custard? The boy needed to manifest at least a spark of charm or charisma, of which Andressen had none! And he ain''t aged well either judging by this recent pic.
I thought the young actor''s beauty was its own excuse for being, r25.
Good grief r25 is that really Tadzio now ! As Bogarde wrote in his books, he, Bjorn, was just an ordinary kid mad on motorbikes - nothing interesting about him at all. Whatever did Visconti see in him.\
Visconti''s last L''INNOCENTE is another stunning film with great sets and costumes - time to see it again I think. LUDWIG also repays another look - Schneider is perfect as Elizabeth (she played the younger Sissi in those 50s German films which are a riot of kitsch now), Helmut is ideal as Ludwig and then there are all those grooms ....
I know this is an old thread but I found this interesting and maybe other will: it's Bjorn Andresen's audition for the role of Tadzio in "Death in Venice"
The Leopard, Death in Venice, Rocco and His Brothers and that thing with Magnani - Momma Roma? = all wonderful movies.
Mamma Roma was Pasolini, r29. And he was most definitely NOT a Count.
Visconti is spot on about all three directors.
Antonioni's films don't bore me but I can see others being bored by them.
Fellini is provincial in the extreme. But I still love his films even if, like Visconti said, he might have nothing to say.
Bergman films bore me to death and he's correct in describing them as obsessions from another strange land.
Anybody have any info on Helmut Berger? He was Visconti's lover for the last 10 years of his life (Visconti was around 60 and Berger 20 when they met). The few important roles Berger ever got where with Visconti, and he was known to be extremely gelous of other young handsome men who worked with Visconti. After the director's dead he had a breakdown and became an alcoholic. It surprised me the more I read about them that Berger did not (or did not only) see Visconti as a path to become a star but he seemed genuinely in love with him.
Other than L'AVVENTURA, I've never been enamored of Antonioni's films in general. LA NOTTE, L'ELISSE, and RED DESERT are almost parodies.
About Fellini: "His greatest danger: to be a very great director with precious little to say."
Other than 8 1/2, that's an apt statement about Fellini's output from LA DOLCE VITA onward. Even though I enjoy AMARCORD, there's not that much too it. ROMA and SATYRICON are, IMO, unwatchable.
Bergman has always been a matter of taste for many. Some of his more tortured films (THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY, THE SILENCE, for example) don't age well. I can't even get through THE SILENCE. But PERSONA is wonderfully mysterious and fascinating, while SHAME and PASSON OF ANNA are superb.
Visconti himself was not necessarily the Master Director. While I like ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS and love THE LEOPARD, SENSO doesn't quite come off, SANDRA is mediocre, and THE DAMNED and LUDWIG are just plain awful IMO.
Part of Visconti's problem is that he uses actors who are not up to the demands of the roles they take on: Farley Granger in SENSO, Claudia Cardinale in SANDRA, Helmut Berger in anything. His gamble with Burt Lancaster did pay off in THE LEOPARD.
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