Netflix, still blacklisted at the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, painted Visconti’s 1963 masterpiece, The Palme d’Or. Opportunity to see the last scene again, a long ball lasting three quarters of an hour, where love and death dance. ..
Lampedusa’s novel, then the film Visconti, cheetah tells of the end of one world and the beginning of another. Between 1860 and 1862, the decisive phase of the Risorgimento took place in Italy, its unification into a kingdom, officially proclaimed on March 17, 1861. This revolutionary movement began the inevitable decline of the nobility, replaced by freshly enriched but without manners. consisting of the bourgeoisie and the landlords. This is the case in Sicily, where Garibaldi had just landed when the film began in 1860. Prince Don Fabrizio Salina (Bert Lancaster) watches with melancholy these upheavals, whose nephew Tancred (Alain Delon) falls in love with a monkey, and finally with the bourgeois Angelica (Claudia Cardinale). During the ball scene in November 1862, he decided to join the union. What is really going on in this scene?
That sums it up
The words of the prince are quite frank: the world of Fr. “Lions and Cheetahs” is about to be replaced by another where “Jackals and hyenas”. No, he is not very receptive to the situation. During this ball, where the bourgeois come to the nobility with their huge clogs, this is the beginning of the end. Moreover, the prince has long considered this picture of Dream, Death of the just where the whole family surrounds the father on his deathbed. Leaving the palace early in the morning, he looks at the sky and asks: “Star, faithful star, when you give me a less ephemeral date, not everything, in your country of eternal certainty? »
This closes the film, but not the novel
Although Giuseppe Tomazi di Lampedusa wrote it after all the others, this scene is the penultimate part of the novel, which lasted until 1863 with the death of the prince. Lucino Visconti prefers to dwell on this, in November 1862, not only because the rest of the book, he said, is only “unattractive appendage”, but also because this scene has a wonderful ending. It intervenes when Garibaldi is defeated for the first time at Aspromonte, marking the end of a revolutionary adventure, but also at a time when the bourgeoisie dominates the nobility and the individual trajectories of the three protagonists, Prince, Tancred and Angelica, are resolved.
A real palace instead of a fake
The scene was shot in the Palazzo Ganges, eight thousand square meters in the heart of Palermo, owned by the Ganges family since its construction in 1750. There is a mirror hall, reminiscent of Versailles, and a whole bunch of elements that correspond to the descriptions of Palazzo Pantaleone, the brainchild of Lampedusa.
We often talk about shooting by candlelight Barry Lyndon Kubrick (1975), but Visconti twelve years earlier also sought to eliminate as much electric light as possible to remove this bullet. During these eight working nights, thousands of candles were lit, extinguished, re-lit to illuminate three hundred extras. It is about three hundred and ninety-three costumes, one item of clothing for one woman… The fitting began at about two o’clock, and filming at eight, to four or six in the morning.
An inexhaustible source of inspiration
cheetah quickly became a cult film for almost everyone, but perhaps even more so for American cinema, whose Hollywood model was in crisis in the 1960s. Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola (1972) and Journey to the end of hell, Michael Chimino (1978), opened with Dante’s wedding scenes, which are apparently inspired by a ball organized by Visconti. But, without a doubt, it was Martin Scorsese who distinguished himself the most with this film, the restoration of which he also directed in 2010. Enough to see The era of innocence understand.
with cheetah, Lucino Visconti. Available on Netflix.