Film Series : Visconti

White Nights

Le notti bianche

1957, Luchino Visconti, Italy, 97 min. With Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell, Jean Marais

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Show Times

  • Sun, Dec 2nd 5:00pm
  • Tue, Dec 4th 6:00pm

"Visually stunning...This is my favorite Visconti film." - Dennis Schwarz, Ozu's World Movie Reviews

WHITE NIGHTS represents Visconti's furthest departure from his neorealist roots. As such, this poetic romance was widely attacked when first released; subsequent commentators have more favorably located it as an important step in the turn toward stylization that characterizes Visconti's late career. The film is based on the 1848 Dostoyevsky short story (also the source of Bresson's FOUR NIGHTS OF A DREAMER) of a lonely man (Mastroianni) who becomes involved with a woman (Schell) awaiting the uncertain return of her beloved (Marais). The location is transposed from St. Petersburg to the Italian coastal city of Livorno, although a more accurate designation might be Viscontiville. Filming entirely on elaborate sets in the Cinecittà studio, the director creates a Gothic fairyland of inky canals, narrow alleys, neon signs, and crumbling ruins, with atmospheric lighting and weather effects mirroring the moods of the characters. The highpoint of the stylization - and of the film itself - is a delirious dance by a group of young hipsters to Bill Haley's "Thirteen Women." In Italian with English subtitles. 35mm archival print. (MR)

Please note: This trailer is unsubtitled. Our screenings of the film will be subtitled in English.

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