Le Notti Bianche (1957)

January 16, 2010

Last month when I made my Top 20 Favorite Actors list, I had just seen the film 8 1/2 and Marcello Mastroianni squeaked onto my list based on his performance in that film alone. Well now I've seen another one of his films, and I think it's safe to say that his presence on my Top 20 list is pretty much guaranteed for life.

Le Notti Bianche is a gorgeous, breathtakingly beautiful film by director Luchino Visconti. I first read about the movie on Richard's blog, Riku Writes. Richard has been doing a long, in-depth series on Italian cinema, and of all his reviews I have to say this one enchanted me the most. His description of the snow-covered scenery and dimly lit Italian streets captivated me, and I added this to my Netflix queue immediately.

Le Notti Bianche is the story of a kind, shy man who tries to help a sad woman that he meets on a bridge in the middle of the night. My impression of Marcello Mastroianni up until now was that he was the essence of cool, and would portray similar characters in film. But his performance in his movie betrayed that suave exterior to show a shy, gentle man yearning for love. His character was both touching and heartbreaking.

One thing that I really love when watching movies is getting so caught up in the story that you don't even realize what's going on around you- the film is the only thing existing in your world at that moment. Marcello Mastroianni and Maria Schell swept me into their fantasty world from the minute they appeared onscreen. No matter that I had had a bad day, that my nose was stuffy or my cat was sitting awkwardly on my numb arm -- Maria Schell and Marcello Mastroianni were smiling and dancing on film, so I was happy too.

I highly recommend this if you haven't seen it yet -- and for a much, much better review please check out Richard's post on Riku Writes.


Terence Towles Canote said...

I think most people tend to think of Marcello as the essence of cool, primarily due to 8 1/2 and La Dolce Vita, but he really did have a good deal of variety in his roles. La Notte Bianche proves that, as he plays a role about as far removed from cool as possible.

Millie said...

Oh, gosh! BEAUTIFUL artwork! Really! I need to see this now!

NoirGirl said...

Wow that drawing is AMAZING! All the hatching!

I've never seen a Marcello film, so this is really interesting. It sounds lovely. I'd love to see it!

Anonymous said...

This was a spectacular review Kate! So well written!

The artowk is excellent, as usual. You've piqued my interest; now I want to see it!

Andi B. Goode said...

I really hope I can find this. Visconti's films are becoming easier to find here, which is good, though Italian films are still fairly obscure, unfortunately. Anyway, I've only see Mastroianni in La Dolce Vita (which I loved) but I'm about to watch 8 1/2.
-Andi x