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aka - Morte a Venezia
Italy/France 1971
Directed by
Luchino Visconti
130 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4.5 stars

Death In Venice

Death In Venice is notable for a masterly, probably his finest, and certainly his most iconic performance by Dirk Bogarde as the crotchety, isolated composer, Gustav Von Aschenbach, in Visconti's adaptation of the Thomas Mann novella.

The Venetian locations, the wonderful use of Mahler's music and Visconti's intelligent direction all combine to make this a beguiling film, only a little tarnished by 70s fetishization of the androgynous and the Art Nouveau era and somewhat jarred by histrionic flashbacks airing Mann's theories of art in scenes of torrid intensity between Von Aschenbach and his assistant, Alfred (Mark Burns). Other than these outbursts there is little dialogue and indeed little story or action as Visconti tends to revisit a few scenes over and over with only differences of costume and setting, making this a film that will appeal to some as a marvellous fin de siecle study in melancholia and loss, and lose others as a laboured tale of an old poof on his last legs. Clearly I belong in the former group.




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