Like other Visconti melodramas, sumptuous in its Technicolor expressionism, Senso sees heterosexual love through homosexual eyes: Farley Granger (in the Helmut Berger role) plays the young Austrian officer in the force occupying Venice in the 1860s, and Alida Valli (in the Burt Lancaster role) the older, married woman who falls insanely in love with him, betraying her husband, her principles, and finally Italy itself in the headlong folly of her passion. The man sadistically exploits his own beauty and willingly prostitutes himself; the woman submits to one humiliation after another, her masochism finally indistinguishable from madness. Fassbinder's version of this story was called The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. Visconti, using English dialogue by Tennessee Williams and Paul Bowles, generates emotions so violent that even his operatic vision can barely contain them.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Luchino Visconti, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Carlo Alianello, Giorgio Bassani, Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams|