BELLISSIMA
1951, Movietime, 108 min, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Anna Magnani is unforgettable as Maddalena, a working-class Italian convinced that her daughter could be the next Shirley Temple in this neorealist dramedy. Against the advice of her husband (Gastone Renzelli), Maddalena spends a small fortune on clothes, hairstyling, ballet lessons and anything that might give little Maria (Tina Apicella) the edge in auditions – only to discover that the movie business isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Real-life director Alessandro Blasetti plays himself in the film, which reportedly was inspired when Visconti cast a child’s role in an earlier production and was deluged by stage mothers.


DEATH IN VENICE
MORTE A VENEZIA
1971, Warner Bros., 130 min, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Adapted from the Thomas Mann novella, this haunting drama follows an ailing German composer (Dirk Bogarde) who travels to Venice hoping to regain his health and creativity. He spots a young boy who embodies his ideal of classic beauty, and becomes dangerously fixated on him as a plague spreads through Venice. This is among Visconti’s most sumptuously mounted period films, featuring music by Gustav Mahler (whose life served as partial inspiration for the screenplay), BAFTA-winning cinematography by Pasqualino De Santis and Oscar-nominated costume design by Piero Tosi. Costarring Marisa Berenson.


…AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.
1979, Sony Repertory, 119 min, USA, Dir: Norman Jewison

“You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!” Al Pacino stars as Arthur Kirkland, who has seen some of the worst abuses of the courtroom in his 12 years as a defense attorney. Nonetheless he continues to fight passionately for his clients - but is thrown for a loop when one of them is a judge (John Forsythe) who has clashed with Kirkland in the past. Pacino’s tour de force performance earned an Oscar nomination, as did Barry Levinson and Valerie Curtin’s original screenplay. A still-relevant skewering of the American legal system, …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL boasts a fine supporting cast including Jack Warden, Christine Lahti, Jeffrey Tambor and Lee Strasberg.


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