by Stefania Bufano
Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia) is one of the masterpieces of Italian cinematography. The film, made by Luchino Visconti, is adapted from the short novel of the German writer Thomas Mann and takes place in Venice in the first decade of the 1900’s.
Visconti, one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, has been with others a father of Neorealismo, known also for his maniacal carefulness of every little detail of scene reconstruction.
I remember an anecdote about this, that I had have read somewhere, maybe in an interview where an actor was talking about it. If you were shooting a scene for the movie, for example, with a woman who was dressing herself in front of a mirror, everything had to be real. The little jewel case on the dresser, that you couldn’t see what was inside it, to see the jewels, well, it had to contain real jewels inside it, and they had to be real jewels.
In a world in which things appear to us less true and more virtual and false, Visconti’s work and Neorealism can be not only a great art lesson, but also a great lesson of life.
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