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:: L'Innocente

This is one of the more beautiful films Italy had produced in the 1970s. It also marked Luchino Visconti's final film and showcased terrific acting performances. L'Innocente presents the grandeur of 18th century Italian aristocracy, with class structure and sexual double standards. Tullio Hermil (Giancarlo Giannini)is bored with his wife Giuliana (Laura Antonelli) and indulges into an affair with a wealthy, cunning widow Countess Teresa Raffo (Jennifer O'Neill). In doing so, he encounters Count Egano and realises he is being played with and retreats back to his wife. However, while Tullio has been absent from her life, Giuliana attracted the attention of a young writer, Filippo, a friend of Tullio's brother. Tullio returns to find his wife pregnant to another man and a struggle ensues over family honour with tragic consequences.

The real strength of the film is in the dramatic playing-out of the human drama, the emotional voyage of each of the characters, and the realisation that they are powerless to act against their own passions. The film is visually expressive. You can see the anguish, the pain, and the tormenting on the faces of the protagonists.

L'Innocente is extravagantly lush and beautiful, in the set designs, in the costumes, and in the elegant tone. Delicately scored to music from Gluck, Mozart, Chopin and Liszt. A lush costume drama, a romantic melodrama, the whole tone of the film is certainly elegant and mannered, but nothing here feels false or costume-dramaticised. The locations and furnishings feel utterly real, not museum pieces, but the lived-in homes of the extravagantly wealthy.

Visconti is fascinated by characters who have reached a turning point in their lives, are faced by circumstances or personal revelations about themselves that lead them inexorably, tragically and unavoidably onto a path of self-destruction. That is the case here with Tullio and the viewer can‘t help but be entirely immersed in his and the other characters’ predicament.

As for the acting performances, the main players are terrific, especially Giannini who we can follow with interest, in living his personal traumas, whilst Antonelli and O'Neill look splendid in their costumes and show their feelings powerfully.

L'Innocente is a deeply involving story, played-out with conviction and great skill by a superb cast and directed with supreme skill by a legendary director.

DVD Extras

The only extra included here is a Photo Gallery which displays eleven stills taken directly for the film at 2.35:1 aspect ratio.