Death in Venice (1971)
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as Gustav Von Aschenbach
as Tadzio's Mother
as Frau Von Aschenbach
as Hotel manager
as Polish Young Man
as Travel Agent
as Polish Youth
as Hotel clerk
as English Tourist
as Railway Worker
as Hotel Guest
Critic Reviews for Death in Venice
Visconti takes the veneer and calls it furniture. With infinite tedium, he pores over every facet of Tadzio's Botticelli visage.
Visconti's mastery of visual style almost succeeds in creating the very ideas and feelings that his heavy-handed narrative entirely misses.
Instead of bringing the story to life, Visconti has, I'm afraid, embalmed it.
There is much that is good in Death in Venice but long before it is over the movie begins to sink under the weight of it all.
Even critics who didn't like Visconti's version of Mann's novella praised Dirk Bogarde in the lead and the film's production values, especially costume design, which was Oscar nominated.
Audience Reviews for Death in Venice
Moments of perfection.
Like the sand in the hourglass, there is no stopping the passage of time. This cinematic achievement is unmatched in its visual eloquence, but remains an emotionally unsatisfying experience. Long shots, slow pans, and silence, only punctuated by Mahlerâ€™s symphonies, create emotional distance. On first appearance, Aschenbach is a man already in decline: His cultured facade doesnâ€™t mask an underlying vulgarity. Alienated from his artistic and spiritual impulses, he recognizes an idealized and pure beauty in the form of a pre-pubescent boy, which does nothing to create a more sympathetic character. His realization is much too late, just as the population in Venice is dying from pestilence, and a way of life is dying at the turn of the century. As we follow the boy, it is hard to tell if Tadzioâ€™s glances, poses, and posturing are real or just Aschenbachâ€™s fantasy. During the final scene, we view the sea and sun, the promising horizon formed in the initial scene, but now glittering and hazy. Aschenbach, appearing clown-like with his whitewash and greasepaint, silently observes Tadzio pointing at the sun, and he also reaches out, as if grasping for communion, and dies. Posited on the beach, there is a symbolic, unmanned camera, ready to frame Tadzio in a snapshot. Hauntingly, the final shots rest on Aschenbachâ€™s dripping and smudged death mask, before he is toted off like the sands like garbage. There is a statement about art, beauty, sexuality, and spirituality, residing in this film, but to me it was quite dead.
A classic of Italian cinema! It's very slow -VERY- but it's definitely worth it. The art direction and the cinematography are amazingly beautiful as in almost all of Visconti's films. On the other hand, since the plot is so slow and it requires such empathy to understand the character's motives and his strange attraction towards the boy, it's a love it or hate it movie, no in-betweens. Sometimes it´s hard to follow because the conflict (the inner conflict) that Bogarde's character has in regards of the concept of beauty as well as the awakening of his nostalgia for his family is occasionally unclear. It's a movie one has to feel and give patience to. Oh and don't be encouraged/discouraged by the alleged homosexual love plot, I personally put down that thesis. I think it's much deeper than that.
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