After a couple of misfires, Luchino Visconti returned to familiar territory for his final film. Whilst The Innocent (L’innocente) may not reach the heights of The Leopard, Death in Venice or Le Notti Bianche, it’s contains all the elements which make his one of the greatest Italian directors of his era. Over a period of four decades, he amassed just twenty films. However, his legacy still lives on in modern cinema.
Tullio (Giancarlo Giannini) and Giuliana (Laura Antonelli) live in a marriage of convenience. Her marriage and his convenience. Tulio, a wealthy Roman aristocrat, was fallen under the spell of a rich temptress (Jennifer O’Neill). Depressed and lonely, Giuliana has a tryst with a novelist (Marc Porel). Seeing her sudden happiness rekindles a flame within Tullio, however it’s much too late for the both of them.
The Innocent is a beautifully paced melodrama. Tullio is a selfish and arrogant man, driven by lust and desire. Giuliana is desperate for his company and attention but gradually sees him for what he really is. Every shot is perfectly constructed. It looks good enough to eat. Especially in this new restoration. There’s no pointless extravagance though, everything is carefully constructed. The Innocent is a fitting end to a glittering career. Perfectly acted, directed and shot.
The Innocent is released on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital by Cult Films on Monday 10 April.