Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week

Posted By , , , and on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Death in Venice, a film by Luchino Visconti, based on Thomas Manns book
Death in Venice (1971)
Directed by Luchino Visconti
Following the success of his X-rated Nazi melodrama The Damned, Viconti’s adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novella is significantly less explicit (it’s rated PG!) but no less decadent and disturbing. Dirk Bogarde stars as Gustav con Aschenbach, a creatively stunted composer vacationing in the titular city. When he spots a blond-haired, androgynous Polish boy at his hotel, he becomes obsessed. Aschenbach watches from afar at first, creeping slowly and steadily closer, never exchanging a single word with the boy and more or less disregarding the cholera epidemic that’s sweeping the city. In the era of streaming video, this movie still demands to be seen in a theater. Visconti’s cinemascope frames are rich with detail and a squirmy hypnosis emerges from the languid pacing, Mahler score, and Bogarde’s pitch-perfect disaffect. Zach Clark (Jun 11-13 at MoMA, part of its Auteurist History of Cinema series)

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