Coming Soon to
Coming Soon to
Director Luchino Visconti was himself from a prominent Aristocratic background (although he was a Communist). Making a film about the crumbling aristocracy in Italy during a time of massive social change was close to his heart and probably very real for him.
Visconti adapted the 1958 best selling novel by the same title by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. The story is set during the tumultuous times of Garibaldi’s revolution to unify Italy. Curiously, Italy became a unified nation 21 years after Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1861.
Burt Lancaster plays the Sicilian Prince, Don Fabrizio of Salina, a dignified high-minded nobleman in a time when the middle classes begin displacing the hereditary ruling class. Change was unstoppable, and yet on the surface, everything seemingly remained the same. When Don Fabrizio’s nephew, Tancredi (played by Alain Delon), falls in love with the beautiful Claudia Cardinale, new alliances between bourgeois and aristocracy are formed, filled with mistrust and class scepticism. When the local nobility holds an enormous ball in a grand palace, the extravagance, beauty, refinement and opulence of the old ruling class begin to look as equally beautiful as irrelevant. The ball scene’s grandeur is truly astonishing in scale and detail and is now recognised as a significant sequence of cinema history. I doubt anything like it could ever be made again in a live-action film. Il Gattopardo is a film of sumptuous beauty, and it is no exaggeration to call it a masterpiece.