La Luna (1979) - Rotten Tomatoes

La Luna (1979)

La Luna (1979)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

La Luna Photos

Movie Info

The tumultuous life of a troubled teen is examined in this controversial film from Bernardo Bertolucci. Joe, the boy in question, has been spoiled and is in dire need of a strong father figure. His stepfather Douglas, who believes that he sired the boy with his wife Caterina, an opera singer, is simply unable to deal with him. Joe continues to get in trouble. After he watches his despondent "father" commit suicide, the boy and his mother move to Italy where she tries to make a comeback. The boy soon finds himself involved with a bad crowd and becomes a heroin addict. His poor frazzled mother almost has a breakdown when she and her son almost become lovers. Before the end of the film, Joe finally gets to meet his real father, Giuseppi, who has been hiding in Italy and teaching children. It is he who saves the boy from descending further into a life of darkness and degradation.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox Film Corporation


Jill Clayburgh
as Caterina Silveri
Matthew Barry
as Joe Silveri
Renato Salvatori
as Communist
Fred Gwynne
as Douglas Winter, Her Husband
Tomás Milian
as Giuseppe
Alida Valli
as Giuseppe's mother
Franco Citti
as Man in Bar
Roberto Benigni
as Upholsterer
Carlo Verdone
as Director of Caracalla
Peter Eyre
as Edward
Ronaldo Bonacchi
as Director of Caracalla opera
Stephane Barat
as Mustafa
Pippo Campanini
as Innkeeper
Rodolfo Lodi
as Maestro Giancarlo Calo
Liana DelBalzo
as Maestro's sister
Shara di Nepi
as Concetta, Caterina's Maid
Jole Silvani
as Wardrobe Mistress
Francesco Mei
as Barman
Mimmo Poli
as Piano Mover
Massimiliano Filoni
as Piano Mover
Enzo Siciliano
as Orchestra conductor in Rome
Alessandro Vlad
as Caracalla Conductor
Iole Silvani
as Wardrobe mistress
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for La Luna

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (7)

Luna seduces and repels you at the same time. It's a film about the silences and cruelties between people, but it explodes with color, music, and movement.

Full Review… | April 21, 2016
Village Voice
Top Critic

Channelling a Viscontian elegance, Bernardo Bertolucci probes the allure of bourgeois excess to its core of perverse desire-and ultimately suggests that it's made of frustrated dreams of normalcy.

Full Review… | April 18, 2016
New Yorker
Top Critic

Loud, vulgar, and frequently obnoxious, the film nevertheless has a perfect integrity in its excesses. This is filmmaking from the groin, unabashed and unrestrained.

Full Review… | August 2, 2015
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Did a little bird try to warn Bertolucci that this material was, to put it kindly, two bricks short of a load?

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

La Luna is a spectacle-sized melodrama filled with a variety of themes -- plots and subplots that merge asymmetrically into a melodramatic mold.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Top Critic

Ravishing to look at, but the movie's real curiosity is the way it fails to reverse Bertolucci's usual preoccupations.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for La Luna

This is the strangest film Bertolucci ever made. It left me scratching my head. Too well done to be dismissed as "perverse trash" -- and yet, this is the over-all feeling that took me mid-point into the story. The film is done in the style of an opera. Bertolucci actually treats the uncomfortable, statutory rape and incestual result of a mother's desperation and her son's drug-addled confusion as secondary. And, then, he composes an all too easy resolution. Like opera, this is not reality. Vittorio Storaro's camera work is lush, interesting and beautiful. Jill Clayburgh gives it all for this film including odd and unnecessary genitalia close-up shots. The work here is solid. The story here is off-putting and disturbing. The problem with this story is it is not clear where Bertolucci stands on the unforgivable actions of a self-obsessed mother. But, maybe that isn't the point. Not for all tastes. If you are not a devoted lover of the works of Vittorio Storaro, Bernardo Bertolucci or Clayburgh -- you will most likely want to avoid this ambitious, ambiguous and ultimately plain odd late 1970's film.

Matty Stanfield
Matty Stanfield

Very long at over 2 hours, but is so beautifully done it does not out stay it's welcome. This film deals with very damaged people and it won't be for everyone as it does contain quite an unhealthy relationship between a mother and son. It is not done in an exploitative way, though, these are people who are in pain and maybe even temporarily crazy. I was very impressed with the young guy who plays the son. I was surprised after watching this that his career never went further. He plays vulnerability and distress beautifully. Jill Clayburgh as the mother is slightly over the top, but then so is her character, so I assume she was written that way. Well worth a look.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Opera, incest and Bertolucci! How can you go wrong? Luckily, Vittorio Storaro's cinematography is gorgeous!

John Miller
John Miller

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