In the late 1930s, in Ferrara, Italy, the Finzi-Contini are one of the leading families, wealthy, aristocratic, urbane; they are also Jewish. Their adult children, Micol and Alberto, gather a circle of friends for constant rounds of tennis and parties at their villa with its lovely grounds, keeping the rest of the world at bay. Into the circle steps Giorgio, a Jew from the middle class who falls in love with Micol. She seems to toy with him, and even makes love to one of his friends while she knows Giorgio is watching. While his love cannot seem to break through to her to draw her out of her garden idyll, the politic forces close in to end their idyll.
|Helmut Berger & Fabio Testi|
|Berger & Sanda|
This is as affecting as that great 1966 Czech film Kadar's THE SHOP ON MAIN STREET - another one I must return to...along with Wertmuller's SEVEN BEAUTIES in '75 (one of the great '70s films), and that recent 1961 re-discovery THE LONG NIGHT OF '43 -and Bolognini's GRAN BOLLITO, reviews at Italian label, also about the rise of Fascism in Italy, and of course Visconti's '69 opus THE DAMNED. I have Bassani's novel - I shall now have to include it in my summer reading....