Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Stranger - Luchino Visconti, 1967

THE STRANGER (LO STRANIERO). A very missing movie, this 1967 film of Albert Camus’s “The Stranger” was directed by Luchino Visconti – quite a departure for him from his usual operatic, decorative works, and co-scripted by Visconti's usual writer Suso Cecchi D'Amico. The book was one of those novels one simply had to read back then, and probably still is. It is the bare story of a man who commits a senseless murder, is caught, tried and executed, in Algeria. One of those existentialist works then, as our “hero” Meursault finds life meaningless, he does not care what happens to him or what he does to others, and at his trial much is made of his lack of emotion at his mother’s funeral. Is he a psychopath? We hear his interior monologue.

Marcello Mastroianni gives one of his major performances and is compelling throughout, Anna Karina has the thankless role of the girlfriend. It certainly conjures up the atmosphere of hot, airless rooms and that life lived outside in those hot opressive climates. What I saw was a dubbed copy but that did not detract from the powerful images and mood the film creates. This was made after Visconti's 1965 SANDRA or VAGHE STELLE D'ORSA, that other rare Visconti I re-discovered recently, and is a firm favourite of mine. Visconti was back in operatic mode with his next one, THE DAMNED in ’69.

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