Fantastic article thanks - although I would argue in these dark times of people NOT separating the artist from the work how can anyone then NOT separate the critic from his work too and take A.O. Scott remotely seriously when he says this below and when I know what he wrote of Woody Allen a few months earlier AND who is very much, in his own way, a Visconti figure in matters of class and encroaching moral behavior too - he's talking Visconti here not Allen?:
But it seems to me that his lyricism is its own argument, an insistence on the inseparability of art and life.
But I always think its always a good thing to celebrate Visconti - I think of him more and more now in the same way I think of Fassbinder say - weirdly of their time, with work that can go out of fashion but that will always come back around and be celebrated because it was always outside of fashion in a way, anyway. But unlike Fassbinder, with Visconti, it's an extremely tight filmography - if you are seduced by one, you in some ways will be seduced by all.
...with Visconti, it's an extremely tight filmography - if you are seduced by one, you in some ways will be seduced by all.
I love this so much - you are so right.
I did want to pick your brain about Sandra for a minute - and I do realize that most people don't love the film as much as Egoyan and I. Though pulpier and grittier than the other films in his oeuvre, Viscontian tropes are ever present - an aristocracy rooted in classical ideals but long since hollowed out through exaggerated opulence and moral decay. The velvety black and white cinematography is lovely (especially in restored print ), but I do wonder why Visconti chose black and white for this particular film... In his book, Egoyan shares full color photos from the set, and they are as sumptuous as you might expect - why not highlight it? What do you think?
Well, if I had to guess - and honestly who better than me to presume to know what a genius thought - I would assume the classical nature of the story - and its relative "simplicity" of plot and classic nature lent itself to the timeless imagery of black and white.
Although come to think of it a little deeper, a lot of that film is insanely architecturally or weirdly situationally designed - there's winding staircases, crumbling or austere stone, the lovers surrounded by pillars or obscured by walls and shadow, reflections in water and things like that. He may have thought that the black and white set them in sharper relief to those things I suppose too.
That movie is 1965 where black and white was still the style in some major, more modern but somewhat similar themed recent films too - The Fire Within and The Soft Skin from a year or two before.