Luchino Visconti Geoffrey Nowell-Smith - Essay

Geoffrey Nowell-Smith

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Luchino Visconti's L'Innocente … opens with a shot of a book—Gabriele D'Annunzio's novel of that title—lying on a table. There is a zoom-in to get a closer look at the cover, a zoom-out, and then a gnarled and yet frail hand enters the frame and starts turning the pages. The hand is reputed to be in fact that of Visconti, but even if it were not its place in the fiction would be the same. It is the hand of the film author, an old yellowing hand on an old yellowing book, the two perhaps contemporary. What we are about to see, therefore, is not just a film of the book, but implicitly a restoration of a common past.

Nothing in the film quite fulfils the promise of the opening moment…. But...

(The entire section is 720 words.)