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Visconti: Restored and Airconditioned

Il gattopardoAmid the plethora of cultural offerings in D.C. are the many film screenings at various museums (Freer, NGA, etc.), Embassies, and the AFI Silver which I tend to forget about or neglect when the concert season is under way. When D.C. turns into a muggy swamp for the summer and – as far as music is concerned – cultural wasteland, these events appear from under the radar screen and offer diversion of the best kind.

The finest example is the Visconti retrospective at the National Gallery of Art where from last Sunday until September 4th, newly and very well restored prints (with new subtitles) of six Lucchino Visconti films are being shown – five of which are collaborations with his screen-play writer Suso Cecchi d'Amico. The series opened with Luca Verdone’s 1983 biographic film of Visconti the film, theater, and opera director… and included contributions by many of his collaborators like d’Amica, Marcello Mastroianni, and Franco Zefirelli. Alas, the subtitles chose only to translate a quarter of the comments and even then rather liberally. It was followed by the beautiful L’Innocente, a compelling drama in its own right, even without the sub-stories of (male) self-delusion, chauvinism and the tint of an appeal to socialism.

Tomorrow at 4pm and again on August 2nd at 12:30 the NGA will screen Il gattopardo with the famous score of Nino Rota and more or less the beginning of Alain Delon's career. Check out the NGA’s schedule for the other films.

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