Luchino Visconti

Sog.: Cesare Zavattini. Scen.: Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Francesco Rosi, Luchino Visconti. F.: Piero Portalupi Paul Ronald. M.: Mario Serandrei. Scgf.: Gianni Polidori. Mus.: Franco Mannino. Int.: Anna Magnani (Maddalena Cecconi), Walter Chiari (Alberto Annovazzi), Tina Apicella (Maria Cecconi), Gastone Renzelli (Spartaco Cecconi), Tecla Scarano (maestra di recitazione), Arturo Bragaglia (fotografo), Lola Braccini (moglie del fotografo), Alessandro Blasetti (se stesso), Mario Chiari (se stesso). Prod.: Salvo D’Angelo per Film Bellissima. DCP. D.: 115’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

For many years, Bellissima was discussed almost exclusively in terms of its most obvious and immediately visible element: its depiction of a perfectly defined character in the context of a story that fit her like a glove. It was as if it was written to bring out her contrasting qualities: cantankerous yet soft, unruly yet sweet. This film marks a “return to character”, not only on the part of a filmmaker who made his debut [Ossessione] with a realist melodrama featuring multiple characters and whose second film [La terra trema] emphasised a strongly choral dimension, but also in terms of what seemed to be (and, in many ways, was) the guiding principle of a cinema which focused on the group and the representation of a particular setting or social situation. This seemed to constitute the principal way in which Visconti deviated from the dominant tendency of neorealism […]. Furthermore, Visconti’s own statements appeared to confirm this impression, emphasising both his interest in the character, and the work he conducted with (and on) those elements which typically underpin a character-driven film: the actor, the actress – or rather the star, as the director himself tended to define Magnani […].
The hypothesis was that […] the setting of the world of the cinema in Bellissima is not really a “fake target”; rather, the thing that drew Visconti towards this subject (who can say whether consciously and deliberately or not!) was a desire to filter a context with a quite different historical significance through a carefully constructed character. In other words, that postwar Italian cinema was no longer the bearer and interpreter of the national-popular mood and that the relationship between “the people” and “the cinema” had become both an impossible illusion and an unstoppable machine. To use Visconti’s own words, in relation to Bellissima, that Italian cinema had “once again entered a period of involution” […].  It seems clear that Visconti’s third feature film already represents the transcending of neorealism which the subsequent Senso would accomplish to a greater and more immediately obvious extent […]. Bellissima is one of the first and most self-aware instances of the death throes of the neorealist utopia.

Lino Miccichè, Visconti e il neorealismo: Ossessione, La terra trema, Bellissima, Marsilio, Venice 1998

Copy From