Luchino ViscontiItaly 123 minutes1954ColourItalian
Despite its troubled production history — including interference by producers, mutilation by censors, and denunciation by both Right and Left — Visconti's epic of the 1866 Italian-Austrian War is considered by many to be the director's masterpiece, as well as "probably the finest colour film in the history of cinema" (Peter Cowie). (Three master cinematographers — G.R. Aldo, Robert Krasker, and Giuseppe Rotunno — worked on Senso, and their different tonalities and use of colour are part of the film's extravagant fascination.) In "the single greatest performance in the Visconti canon" (James McCourt), Alida Valli plays a Venetian countess whose infatuation with a young Austrian officer (Farley Granger) leads her to betray her friends, family, and country. Opening spectacularly in the La Fenice opera house (a sequence that has influenced many films, including Scorsese's The Age of Innocence) and featuring music by Verdi and Bruckner, a script written in part by Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles, sumptuous period sets and costumes, and a central performance of blazing intensity, "Visconti's masterpiece proceeds with all the majestic rhythm and the meticulous design of grand opera" (Cowie).
Please note that Senso will screen as an archival 35mm print instead of the restored digital copy previously advertised.