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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Le Notti Bianche (aka White Nights) (1957)

A lonely young man (Marcello Mastroianni), a recent transplant to the city, meets a lonely young girl (Maria Schell) on a bridge waiting for the lover (Jean Marais) who abandoned her a year ago. A friendship develops that threatens to turn to something more but the phantom lover stands in the way. Based on the 1848 short story by Fyodor Dostoevsky and directed by Luchino Visconti, who co-wrote the screenplay with Suso Cecchi D'Amico. Filmed entirely on the sound stages of Cinecitta where Mario Chiari has created an entire city (wet streets, bridges, nightclubs, canals etc.) luminously shot in B&W by the great Giuseppe Rotunno. This is a fragile dreamlike piece of fatal romanticism that holds you spellbound while anticipating the heartbreak that is to come. Mastroianni and the lovely Schell are perfectly matched and bring a genuine pathos to both their isolated lovers. A unique film by one of the masters of Italian cinema. The underscore is by Nino Rota. With Clara Calamai .  

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