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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Innocent (aka L'Innocente) (1976)

Luchino Visconti’s final film is a visually ravishing and emotionally disturbing if somewhat distancing exploration of the psychology of romantic pride. But Visconti’s intellectual reserve also distances us from the characters which ultimately works against the film. An 18th century aristocrat (Giancarlo Giannini) is obsessed with his mistress (Jennifer O’Neill SUMMER OF 42) causing his wife (Laura Antonelli) to also look elsewhere. But what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander and Giannini begins breaking down cerebrally. Giannini’s character is one of the most narcissistic characters I’ve ever encountered in cinema and he is matched by his Machiavellian paramour which leaves only the tormented spouse for us to relate to. Still, it’s an impressive swan song from a legendary film maker.

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