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Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Vanina Vanini (1961)

Set during the Italian Risorgimento in 1824, the daughter (Sandra Milo) of a Roman aristocrat falls in love with a revolutionary (Laurent Terzieff) working to overthrow the oppressive government and the very class system she is a part of. Inevitably, they must come to terms with their differences. For her, their love takes precedence over everything else. For him, his commitment to liberate Italy is foremost. Based on the short story by Stendhal and directed by Roberto Rossellini. There's a potentially great film in here but we'll never know. It's yet another case of a movie being torn apart by a producer destroying the director's vision in order to make it more "commercial". I found the film's editing choppy and it felt like the film had been cut and sure enough, it was. Reputedly, Rossellini's cut was destroyed in a fire in 1980. While the political tract is still there, Rossellini added a heavy dose of Catholicism which isn't in Stendhal's story and he changes the story's ending. What we we're left with is a sumptuous period romance along the lines of Visconti's SENSO but weakened by all the tinkering. With Martine Carol (whose role is a victim of the cuts, it's practically a cameo), Paolo Stoppa and Isabelle Corey.

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