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Notti Bianche
     

Le Notti Bianche

Director: Luchino Visconti

Cast: Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell, Jean Marais

 
Shy young Marcelo Mastroianni ambles across a bridge one evening, where he meets a strange but alluring girl (Maria Schell) who is awaiting her lover. This chance acquaintance is the first strand in a complex web entrapping Mastroianni in a dreamlike world of flashbacks, flashforwards and false visions. The girl, suspecting that her lover is staying at a nearby hotel,

Overview

Shy young Marcelo Mastroianni ambles across a bridge one evening, where he meets a strange but alluring girl (Maria Schell) who is awaiting her lover. This chance acquaintance is the first strand in a complex web entrapping Mastroianni in a dreamlike world of flashbacks, flashforwards and false visions. The girl, suspecting that her lover is staying at a nearby hotel, asks Mastroianni to deliver a note to the errant swain. He agrees--then destroys the note, setting the plot in motion. Updated from a 19th century story by Dostoyevsky, White Nights (Le Notti Bianche) was later refilmed by Robert Bresson as Four Nights of a Dreamer.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Wheeler Winston Dixon
Le Notti Bianche is early Luchino Visconti, when the master was at the peak of his powers. Based on a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and with the unusual and highly theatrical casting of Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell, and Jean Marais (who rarely popped up outside the world of Jean Cocteau), this moody black-and-white film documents the existential relationship between Mario (Mastroianni) and Natalia (Schell). The film was shot on transparently stylized sets, in a marked departure from Visconti's earlier, grittier films, particularly Ossessione (1943), Visconti's version of The Postman Always Rings Twice (which he shot without first obtaining the rights to the novel, much to the displeasure of author James M. Cain and MGM, who were then making their own version of the novel with director Tay Garnett). In early Visconti, life is drab, violent, and owes much to the works of neorealists Roberto Rossellini and Vittorio De Sica. Here, we are in a different world altogether, one of studied artificiality which seems to exist outside of time. Mario loves Natalia, but her heart belongs to another; how will the matter be resolved? The film is not so much a straightforward narrative as it is a meditation on the act of being in love, and the consequences of unrequited passion coupled with senseless devotion. Yet the entire film seems to take place in some sort of limbo; nothing is real, except for the performers. This is Visconti at his most ethereal, and marks the beginning of his increasing interest in stylization in the cinema. This film fell between the cracks of cinema history for a long time, but has since been issued in a superb DVD edition; it is well worth viewing as a remarkable example of a cinematic fabulist at work.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/12/2005
UPC:
0037429207826
Original Release:
1957
Rating:
NR
Source:
Criterion
Presentation:
[B&W, Wide Screen]
Time:
1:41:00
Sales rank:
40,947

Special Features

New, restored high-definition Digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno; A collection of interviews, from 2003, with screenwriter Suso Cecchi D'Amico, film critics Laura Delli Colli and Lino Miccichè, cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, and costume designer Piero Tosi; New audio recording of Dostoyevsky's "White Nights," also downloadable as an MP3; Rare screen test of Mastroianni and Schell; Original theatrical trailer; New and improved English subtitle translation; Plus: a new essay by film scholar Geoffrey Nowell-Smith

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Marcello Mastroianni Mario
Maria Schell Natalia
Jean Marais Lodger
Clara Calamai Prostitute
Alberto Carloni Bar Proprietor
Elena Fancora Cashier
Anna Filippini Daughter
Ferdinando Gera Father
Giorgio Listuzzi Policeman
Leonida Montest Mother
Corrado Pani Actor
Marcella Rovena Housewife
Dick Sanders Dancer
Renato Terra Actor
Maria Zanoli Housekeeper

Technical Credits
Luchino Visconti Director,Screenwriter
Mario Chiari Art Director
Franco Cristaldi Producer
Suso Cecchi D'Amico Screenwriter
Alberto de Rossi Makeup
Enzo Eusepi Set Decoration/Design
Franco Ferrara Musical Direction/Supervision
Nino Rota Score Composer
Giuseppe Rotunno Cinematographer
Dick Sanders Choreography
Mario Serandrei Editor
Piero Tosi Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. At Loose Ends [6:58]
2. The Bridge...At Midnight [4:00]
3. "You Can Trust Me" [6:29]
4. Stood Up [5:03]
5. A Good Reason [1:29]
6. Natalia's Story [4:37]
7. A New Tenant [19:13]
8. The Letter [9:19]
9. Shame [9:00]
10. Nightclub [11:03]
11. Haunted By the Past [2:10]
12. Mario Finds Trouble [3:33]
13. "You Were Right" [7:56]
14. Snowfall [5:36]
15. Fleeting Happiness [5:03]
16. Color Bars [:00]
1. First Night [23:52]
2. Second Night [30:31]
3. Nastenka's History [21:16]
4. Third Night [14:17]
5. Fourth Night [18:52]
6. Morning [5:01]
7. Credits [:26]

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