Film Movement Classics once more makes indie-god parent Film Movement particularly proud as to the meticulously pristine DVD of the 1976 Italian melodrama "L'Innocente." This wonderfully highly emotive film epitomizes the dilemma regarding whether to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
The following Movement trailer highlights the artistry in this grande finale for filmmaker Luchino Visconti; we also get a strong taste of the sordid lifestyles of the rich and famous theme that permeates the film.
Our story begins on what essentially is a night at the opera. Philandering husband Tullio (Giancarlo Giannini) is attending a form of pay-for-play event with his lady-who-lunches spouse Giuliana when mistress Countess Teressa Raffo (in a spot-on performance by Jennifer O'Neill) provides the ultimatum of either leaving early with her or forfeiting any future nights of illicit passion. The ensuing events clearly shows who wears the period-piece pants in these overlapping relationships.
A very true dat moment follows on Tullio and Giuliana having not quite pillow talk the morning after, Tullio saying that love transforms into things such as respect and affection over time especially hits home after many of us have had significant others around essentially 24/7 seven months and eternally counting.
The game changer comes on Tullio brother Federico bringing author Filippo d'Arborio along for a family visit. Meeting this new friend prompts Giuliana to take a gander at what is good for the goose. Borrowing a page from the tale of another tumultuous relationship, Tullio decides that the perceived act in question is only repulsive when it is done to him. The other woman also asserting herself does not help matters.
Giuliana subsequently finding herself with child creates drama of Biblical proportions; the clear lack of fatherly-to-be regard by Tullio provides some of the best moments in the film. This extends to a directive to take not even very drastic measures as to a hiccup in the pregnancy.
Visconti saves the best for last as to his depiction of the shock-and-awe that dominate roughly the final 30 minutes of the film. This begins with a particularly dastardly act followed by a highly dramatic act of contrition.
The morals this time are that everyone who marries for money dearly pays for that decision and that karma is not the only bitch that can ruin the life of a dirty rotten scoundrel.
The bonus feature "Reframing L'Innocente" has author Ivo Bloom sharing his expertise as to Visconti filming the movie in a manner that optimizes the symbolism and the related impact on the audience. The 16-page booklet by writer Dan Callahan provides additional perspective.