“Beautiful people, in the most beautiful places, suffering the grandest of capital-R Romantic travails,” begins Alan Scherstuhl in the Voice: “Even if Sandra weren’t alive at each moment with its director’s genius for composition and staging, and even if its mysteries of sex and blood weren’t so alluring and fathomless, this remastered re-release of Luchino Visconti‘s 1965 lulu of palazzos and incest and heroically strained nightgown straps would already stand as a dessert cart for the cinema-minded. A print this sparkling, actors this gorgeous, chambers this sumptuous, courtyards this shadowed and crumbling—the movie itself could be a dog, and you’d be happy just to let it lick your face for two hours.”
Claudia Cardinale plays “a woman whose return to her family’s provincial Tuscan estate with her new American husband (Michael Craig) opens scabbed-over wounds and buried secrets,” writes Eric Hynes in Time Out New York. “She’s never forgiven her now-mad mother for remarrying after her father was murdered in Auschwitz, and her rapport with brother Gianni (Belle de Jour’s Jean Sorel) is alarmingly intense…. Assertions that such passions are related to the state of their ‘race’ are deeply dubious, but Visconti is ultimately after something more elemental: the glorious and fatal tension between uncontrollable desire and its necessary limits. In other words, pure cinema.”
The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody: “With its hard edges and dark shadows, crashing zooms and feline rages, Visconti’s tale is, in effect, a work of gothic modernism, in which history replaces mythology and madness evokes the spurned enlightenment of psychotherapy.”
The new restoration screens for one week at Film Forum in New York, beginning today. I could only find a trailer with French subtitles, but I thought you’d want to see it nonetheless:
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