Identifying a signature style from the films of Italian director Luchino Visconti is no less challenging than attempting to summarize the man’s idiosyncratic character. Defiantly open both in terms of his personal relationships as a gay man and his political affiliations as a communist during World War II, Visconti followed the unapologetic path of his own ungovernable sensibilities. For all the stylistic diversions of his storied filmography, Visconti’s movies tend to feature characters with headstrong beliefs driving their actions, regardless of their class or status. A three-film series at Trylon Cinema, Luchino Visconti: Resolute Maestro, delves into the director’s philosophical perspective. One of Visconti’s most celebrated films, The Leopard (1963), is a sweeping period piece centered on a charismatic member of the Sicilian aristocracy who accepts the inevitability (and even necessity) of revolutionary change. Less screened, particularly in its non-excised four-hour entirety, is Ludwig (1973), an even more ambitious epic concerning the conflicting convictions of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, whose dashed aspirations and repressed sexuality led to a tragic downfall. Le Notti Bianche (1957) looks to Dostoevsky’s White Nights as inspiration for a love triangle in which the inevitable strains of committed relationships dash the ideals of romantic devotion.
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