SENSO
1954, Rialto Pictures, 123 min, Italy, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Against the backdrop of the Italian-Austrian war of unification, troubled Countess Livia Serpieri (Alida Valli) betrays her country for the love of an Austrian rogue, Franz Mahler (Farley Granger). As her resources dwindle, Livia comes to realize that their love might not be as pure as she thought. "A passionate and melodramatic romance, with doomed lovers, posturing soldiers, secret meetings at midnight, bold adultery and dramatic deaths. ... SENSO is lush, broadly emotional and beautifully photographed." - Roger Ebert.


SANDRA
VAGHE STELLA DELL’ORSA…
1965, Sony Repertory, 105 min, Italy/France, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Inspired by the Greek myth of Electra, this multilayered drama stars Claudia Cardinale as Sandra Dawdson, who returns with her husband (Michael Craig) to her ancestral home in Volterra, Italy, ostensibly for a tribute to her father, who had been killed by the Nazis. When Sandra’s brother (Jean Sorel) arrives, there is a strange attraction between the siblings – is it related to their father’s murder, or something more? The Golden Lion winner at the 1965 Venice Film Festival.


THE DAMNED (1969)
LA CADUTA DEGLI DEI
1969, 156 min, Italy/West Germany, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Director Luchino Visconti's astounding, sumptuous chronicle of the fall of the German Von Essenbeck dynasty during the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party. Scheming Sophie (Ingrid Thulin), scion of the dying aristocratic family, goads husband Frederick (Dirk Bogarde) to commit all manner of heinous acts to usurp control of the clan's munitions factories. As the brutally repressive forces of Nazism bloom into full flower, a series of personal betrayals plagues their immediate relatives as well as all of their acquaintances, culminating in the first of Hitler's purges, the Night of the Long Knives. Sophie and Frederick's corrupt empire grows by nefarious means, but they don't count on Sophie's mentally deranged, pedophile son Martin (Helmut Berger), who surpasses them all in not only decadence and depravity but also in his bottomless capacity for vindictive evil. Maurice Jarre supplies one of his most memorable, operatic scores. With Charlotte Rampling, Florinda Bolkan, Helmut Griem and Umberto Orsini.


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