CONVERSATION PIECE
GRUPPO DI FAMIGLIA IN UN INTERNO
1974, Minerva Pictures, 121 min, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Retired American professor Burt Lancaster lives a quiet, comfortable life in Rome surrounded by his books, paintings and other conversation pieces – until he is forced to rent a floor in his palazzo to a coarse marchesa (Silvana Mangano) and her companions. Visconti’s look at a bastion of tradition confronted by upper-class decadence earned a David di Donatello award for Best Film and boasts a strong cast including Helmut Berger and Claudia Cardinale.


THE WITCHES (1967)
LE STREGHE
1967, Park Circus/MGM, 112 min, Dir: Mauro Bolognini, Vittorio De Sica, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Franco Rossi, Luchino Visconti

Some of the greatest figures of postwar Italian cinema directed this anthology film, which is composed of five separate segments ranging from comedy to drama. The international cast includes Clint Eastwood, Annie Girardot, Alberto Sordi and Silvana Mangano.


BARABBAS
1961, Sony Repertory, 137 min, Italy, Dir: Richard Fleischer

Closer in spirit to Scorsese’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST than to the biblical epics of its own day, director Richard Fleischer’s visually stunning drama (shot in Technirama 70) about the thief (Anthony Quinn) given amnesty in place of Jesus is a moving, gritty and harrowingly unsentimental odyssey of one lonely unfortunate’s spiritual evolution. With Silvana Mangano, Ernest Borgnine and Jack Palance.


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