Before he started directing films, Luchino Visconti was a stage and opera director, and it shows onscreen. Roger Ebert called Visconti’s 1960 opus Rocco and His Brothers “a combination that should not work, but does, between operatic melodrama and seamy social realism.” In fact, “operatic” is an adjective commonly applied to the Italian Neorealist cinema master’s body of work in general. So it should come as no great surprise that three of his films are being screened as part of Bard SummerScape’s 2016 Film Series, which is intended to explore the influence of Giacomo Puccini’s work on the emerging artform of filmmaking.
The Visconti series-within-a-series begins in the Jim Ottaway Film Center on the Bard College Campus on Thursday, July 28 with Senso (1954) and ends a week later with The Leopard (1963) on Thursday, August 4. The centerpiece of the Visconti triptych, Rocco and His Brothers, will be shown this Sunday, July 31. All screenings begin at 7 p.m.
Rocco depicts the struggles of a poor family who have immigrated from rural southern Italy to industrialized Milan, with two of the five brothers (Alain Delon and Renato Salvatori) clashing when they both fall in love with the same woman (Annie Girardot). Star-to-be Claudia Cardinale puts in one of her earliest screen appearances as the eldest brother’s fiancée. The tragic tale incorporates jealousy, alcoholism, rape, murder and other larger-than-life elements familiar to opera-lovers.
Tickets cost $10 general admission, $8 for students and seniors aged 62+. To order, visit https://fishercentertickets.bard.edu/single/selectseating.aspx?p=831. To see the trailer of a film that strongly influenced Martin Scorsese’s career, visit https://bit.ly/2ajzPSw.