Piazza Maggiore > 21:45

Homage to Nino Rota / WRITTEN ON THE WIND

Introduced by

Lee Kline (Criterion), Roberto Turigliatto (Locarno Film Festival) and Bernard Eisenschitz

Special event
Homage to Nino Rota
Cristina Zavalloni (voice), Manuel Magrini (piano)

To follow:
Recovered and Restored

(In case of rain, the screening will take place at Arlecchino Cinema, Jolly Cinema and Lumière Cinema – Sala Scorsese, instead)


Wednesday 29/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

“A study of failure”. That’s how Sirk defined Written on the Wind, saying that he preferred the French term ‘échec’ to the English word ‘failure’ as it better expresses the tragic sense of no exit. “But echec in the sense both of failure and being blocked is indeed one of the few themes which interest me passionately.” No romanticism, no concession to the myth of the loser. Even in its sumptuous stylisation, Writtenon the Wind is coloured by decay and ruin. We’re in Texas, with machines constantly extracting oil with a squeaking lament, reminiscent of the rhythms and lament of generations of slaves; Villa Hadley is the last replica of innumerable colonial mansions, and the dry leaves swirling everywhere seem to have been swept in by the wind from Tara. An American tragedy where everything has already happened, butwe can be sure tomorrow will not be another day: “In my films I want to show exactly the opposite: I think it is the tragedies which are starting over again, always and always.”
Sirk had the best possible cast, and he knew how to use them. He tones down the romantic couple, Rock and Lauren, just letting them irradiate their divine light at every appearance, and takes the two rich, unhappy and corrupt Hadley heirs, Robert Stack and Dorothy Malone, to the extreme. A ruthless, powerful rhetoric describes the irreparable wound of not being appreciated by one’s own father, the pathetic utopia of returning to an innocent childhood (which never was), of sexual frustration cultivated like a weed and of alcohol’s gloomy consolation. As always, colours play their part: Lauren Bacall’s elegant carriage has a background of white flowers, red, insolent anthuriums split the frame with Dorothy Malone, who dances her “dance of death” (Fassbinder) undressing and redressing herself with pink veils, your everyday bad girl transformed into a combination of Salome and Lady Macbeth. In the end, the movie belongs to her and her solitude: the scene in which she caressingly holds a model oil tower has been read by Truffaut (and by everyone after him) as ironic sexual compensation, but Sirk simply said it was: “a rather frightening symbol of American society”. Because the colours are there, but they seem like brushstrokes on a black canvas. Because Written on the Wind is, to borrow the words of Fassbinder again, a dark glowing story “about love, death and America”.

Paola Cristalli

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo (1946) di Robert Wilder. : George Zuckerman. F.: Russell Metty. M.: Russell Schoengarth. Scgf.: Alexander Golitzen, Robert Clatworthy. Mus.: FrankSkinner. Int.: Rock Hudson (Mitch Wayne), Lauren Bacall (Lucy Moore Hadley), Robert Stack (Kyle Hadley), Dorothy Malone (Marylee Hadley), Robert Keith (Jasper Hadley), Grant Williams (Biff Miley), Robert Wilke (Dan Willis), Edward C. Platt (dottor Paul Cochrane), Harry Shannon (Hoak Wayne), John Larch (Roy Carter). Prod.: Albert Zugsmith per Universal-International. DCP. D.: 99’. Col.