fbpx Visconti | Gene Siskel Film Center


November 3 - January 2

The Gene Siskel Film Center, in partnership with Luce Cinecittà and the Italian Cultural Institute, Chicago, presents "Visconti," a nine-film series devoted to the great Italian director who combined visual splendor with vivid characterizations and a tragic sense of social-historical change.

Visconti (1906-1976) was born into one of the wealthiest and most prestigious aristocratic families in Italy. In Paris in the 1930s, he entered filmmaking as an assistant to Jean Renoir and became a lifelong Marxist - without, however, sacrificing his luxurious aristocratic lifestyle and seigniorial manner. Visconti aided the Resistance during the war and was imprisoned by the Fascist government. His first films, OSSESSIONE (1943) and LA TERRA TREMA (1948), are considered foundational works of the Italian neorealist movement.

Possibly influenced by his simultaneous careers as one of Italy's leading theater and opera directors, Visconti confounded (and, at first, alienated) critics by moving in a markedly different direction: sumptuous, sensual, baroque, literary, melodramatic, operatic. The lavish costume drama SENSO (1954) and the set-bound romance WHITE NIGHTS (1957) marked a turning point in his career, although elements of his later style can be retroactively recognized in his early neorealist work.

ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (1960), a hybrid of his early and late styles, was a major international hit. The culmination of his mature style came in THE LEOPARD (1963), initially unsuccessful in the U.S., though immediately lauded in Europe and now widely recognized as Visconti's masterpiece. THE DAMNED (1969) and DEATH IN VENICE (1971) solidified his status as one of the superstars of the auteur-dominated art-cinema movement. LUDWIG (1972) brought his style to an uncompromising extreme that continues to divide critics.

Visconti's sweeping, operatic style and fanatical attention to detail make his films big-screen musts. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to see his grandly stylized films large. THE LEOPARD, SENSO, ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS, and LUDWIG will be screened when this series continues in December.

— Martin Rubin, Associate Director of Programming

This series was organized by Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero of Luce Cinecittà and is sponsored by the Italian Cultural Institute, Chicago. Special thanks to Alberta Lai, Italian Cultural Institute, Chicago; Marco Cicala, Luce Cinecittà.


The Leopard

Il gattopardo

1963, Luchino Visconti, Italy, 185 min.


  • Sat, Dec 8th 7:00pm
  • Sun, Dec 9th 2:00pm
  • Wed, Dec 12th 6:30pm

New restoration!


1954, Luchino Visconti, Italy, 119 min.


  • Sun, Dec 16th 3:00pm
  • Wed, Dec 19th 6:00pm

Rocco and His Brothers

Rocco e i suoi fratelli

1960, Luchino Visconti, Italy, 180 min.


  • Sun, Dec 23rd 2:00pm
  • Wed, Dec 26th 6:30pm


1972, Luchino Visconti, Italy, 235 min.


  • Sat, Dec 29th 3:00pm
  • Wed, Jan 2nd 6:00pm