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Time Out says
Visconti's stunning feature debut transposes The Postman Always Rings Twice to the endless, empty lowlands of the Po Delta. There, an itinerant labourer (Girotti) stumbles into a tatty roadside trattoria and an emotional quagmire. Seduced by Calamai, he disposes of her fat, doltish husband (De Landa), and the familiar Cain litany - lust, greed, murder, recrimination - begins. Ossessione is often described as the harbinger of neo-realism, but the pictorial beauty (and astute use of music, often ironically) are pure Visconti, while the bleak view of sexual passion poaches on authentic noir territory, steeped, as co-scriptwriter Giuseppe De Santis put it, 'in the air of death and sperm'.