Watch This: Luchino Visconti on the Art of Film

We often hear epic films characterized as “operatic.” Sometimes it’s a lazy adjective, but for Luchino Visconti (born on November 2nd, 1906) it is a correct comparison. In fact his productions of Grand Opera outnumber his feature films. By all contemporaneous accounts he grasped the dramatic and spectacular possibilities of opera as well as anyone of his era. This appreciation of dramatic gestures both massive and subtle also informed his screen work, which includes ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS, SENSO, THE LEOPARD and THE DAMNED. Dramatic contradictions came easily to Visconti, a man born into nobility (his full title was Count Luchino Visconti di Madrone of Lonate Pozzolo) who later joined the Communist Party.

For some more insight on the fascinating biography of Visconti, former AFS Programming Director Chale Nafus sums it up pretty well here.

It was on the set of THE DAMNED that the following documentary was made. We hear from his stars Charlotte Rampling and Ingrid Thulin about his working methods as well as from the director himself who, unsurprisingly, is a perfectionist. His methods and philosophy might be described as old school in many ways. But this old school is a particularly good school and so his thoughts on the matter are well worth hearing and learning from.

Here it is.