White Nights

  • Film
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Visconti's version of the Dostoievsky story - about the chance encounter of a couple as she is waiting in vain for her lover, and the obsessive, panic-stricken relationship which then develops between them - later filmed by Bresson as Four Nights of a Dreamer. Visconti traps his characters (three excellent performances) within a claustrophobic canal-side set, and the film is a series of brief walks, chases, attempted escapes, always frustrated. Shot as neo-realist high tragedy, the film offers its characters only one strange moment of escape from their night-time obsessions - a raucous, sexual, subversive scene in a dance-hall. Then the snow comes down, and with it a chilly desperation about the extent of human self-delusion.

Release details

Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Luchino Visconti
Screenwriter: Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Luchino Visconti
Cast: Maria Schell
Marcello Mastroianni
Jean Marais
Clara Calamai
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