A return to Cannes for Il Gattopardo by Luchino Visconti. Crowned with the Palme d’or in 1963, a restored print* of the film will be screened today at 6:15 pm in the Salle Debussy, in a digital format with work done on the sound.
This film, based on the novel of the same name by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, tells the story of the fall of the Italian aristocracy through the lucid and perceptive eyes of the Prince of Salina (Burt Lancaster). Agreeing to a misalliance, he marries his son Tancredi (Alain Delon) to Angelica (Claudia Cardinale), the mayor's daughter, a greedy nouveau riche, a symbol of the rising bourgeoisie.
A symbol of this class struggle: the ball scene, which is central, forty-five minutes brimming with paradoxes. A sumptuous and light atmosphere hides the decadence of the elite. For prince Salina, it is synonymous with age and the fear of death. Hidden behind the laughter and the smiles, the fear and a sinking feeling can be guessed, betrayed by the tense conversations and the suffocating heat of the night. The longest scene in the film required forty nights of shooting at the Gangi Palace in Palermo, in the Sicilian heat. Fatty acid candles had to be used to prevent them from melting too fast.
* Restored print by the Cinémathèque of Bologna, in collaboration with l’Immagine ritrovata, the Film foundation, Pathé, Twentieth century Fox et the Centro sperimentale di cinematografica - Cinetteca nazionalequi.