• Notte_large

    On Saturday evening—as part of a four-week retrospective devoted to the illustrious career of Luchino Visconti, who was born today 111 years ago—the Cinémathèque Française in Paris will present the Italian director’s 1957 film Le notti bianche in 35 mm. With this wintry nocturne, a Dostoyevsky adaptation starring Marcello Mastroianni and Maria Schell as two lonely souls who fall into a fleeting and ultimately ill-fated romance, Visconti summoned an atmosphere exquisitely suspended between reality and dream. Departing from the neorealism of his early works, the filmmaker shot the entirety of Le notti bianche within the walls of a studio—modeling his finely detailed sets after the port city of Livorno—in order to lend a theatrical air to the solid world of the film. “Whereas in [Visconti’s] film Senso (1954) the settings were real but managed accidentally to look artificial, here the setting is both artificial and clearly intended to be seen as such,” writes scholar Geoffrey Nowell-Smith in his liner essay for our edition of the film, an approach that allowed the director to evoke “the poetic realism of Marcel Carné.”

1 comment

  • By theprowler
    November 04, 2017
    12:07 AM

    A superb adaptation I just had the good fortune to experience ... Although Visconti & Mastroianni change the very neurotic Russian feeling of the Dostoevsky story into a fairy legend with a very Romantic flourish and sensibility; nevertheless the author's morals and intentions remain lucid for the audience ... Whereas ten years later, reuniting for "The Stranger", the two geniuses still made a superlative film in its own right -- yet one which draws entirely different conclusions than Camus had elucidated in his novel!