One of a handful of films that (in my opinion) might even eclipse the power of the novel on which they are based--and that is saying something given that it is Moravia's masterpiece. I have watched this film at least a dozen times since the early 70s, when I saw it at a university screening. One of the most beautiful films ever made, and also one of the most shattering.
A masterpiece in the study of cinematic visual form and human psychology under fascist Italy. Bertolucci explores the depth and sinister lure of moral corruption in a world where ethical convictions are trampled upon for the pursuit of power. For what is morality, but a dream concocted by the weak? Incredible shots illustrate the themes from wide expanses showcasing power to intimate detailed shots of individuals.
Impeccably photographed and staged so that every scene is weighted with symbolism. Props to the editing department for a breezy film. But it is far too overstuffed with capital-m Meaning so that there's no room for any scene to breath in all of this. I'm conflicted, because this movie is much more Moulin Rouge than The Damned. I love Moulin Rouge, but no one is calling that movie a profound political statement.
Architectural and beautifully furnished, visually stunning. There's a lot of scenes I will remember as images. Full of political, sexual, and moral ambiguity with lots to discuss afterwards, but upon reflection the script doesn't quite stack up. The film ends up saying more about Bertolucci's interests than the human condition.
I watched this knowing the cinematography was exceptional and was not disappointed. The lighting, camera movement, set decoration and costumes are beautiful. I also watched this having just worked with some Italians on a film, and I now wonder whether the film is in part an observation on the Italian psyche in general. Without putting too fine a point on it : all style and no content, unashamedly backing ...