The Leopard ( film) - Wikipedia
Anyone who has read about the critical fortunes of Il Gattopardo in Italy knows . I shall include at the end a brief discussion of Luchino Visconti's film version, released in An- gelo Romanò, in his report on this version dated 10 October , . The inventory of the FLV is searchable online at http://www. trinamichaels.info The Leopard is a Italian epic period drama film by director Luchino Visconti, based on The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) Release date. March 27, . Parody. The film was parodied by Sergio Corbucci's I figli del leopardo. Directed by Luchino Visconti. Il gattopardo (original title) .. Release Date: According to the book "Histoire de la politesse de à nos jours (History of.
The glamour of his name is still such as to lift roadblocks and allow passage to his family across disputed terrain. Arriving in the hilltop town, the Prince establishes his life just as it was always lived—hunting, social visits, etc. Sedara's grip on power and property in the region is matched only by his fawning sycophancy toward the Prince, whose incontestable nobility of character and ancestry leave Sedara looking distinctly plebeian.
The Prince learns from his hunting companion Don Ciccio, who is also the town organist, that Sedara's wife is never seen publicly, as Sedara jealously guards her rare loveliness; furthermore she is an illiterate peasant he keeps merely as a breeding stock. Bringing her with him to the villa of the Salinas, he watches as both the Prince and Tancredi fall abjectly in love with her.
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Realizing his chance, he effectively pimps his daughter to the aristocracy; and Tancredi, as the only unmarried eligible member of the clan, offers his hand. This devastates the Prince's daughter, Concetta, who had formed a passionate attachment to her cousin, not unreasonably based on his florid demonstrations of affection; which he now forgoes in an instant. The Prince sees the wisdom of the match, since he knows his nephew's vaulting ambition and need for ready cash, which Angelica's father, greedy for familial prestige, will happily make available.
During the lull after this notable event, a visitor from the constituent assembly comes to the villa, hoping for a private interview with the Prince. When his chance comes, he begs the great scholar and nobleman to join the senate and help direct the ship of state; particularly he hopes that the Prince's great compassion and wisdom will help alleviate the poverty and ignorance to be seen everywhere on the streets of Sicily. But the Prince demurs and refuses this invitation, claiming that Sicily prefers its sleep to the agitations of modernity because they are proud of who they are.
He sees a future when the leopards and the lions, along with the sheep and the jackals, will all live according to the same law, but he does not want to be a part of this democratic vision. Indeed, its very commercial success was one of the reasons why some writers and critics took a distance from it and refused to consider it a great work of literature. For another thing, Il Gattopardo was received, and debated, not just as a work of fiction but also as an in- tervention into discussions of Italian history — both the historiography of the Risorgimento and the political history of Italy after Unification.
It is still widely referred to, and frequently misrepresented, in such discussions, both at academic and popular level6. The heat generated in these debates over Il Gattopardo, and the range of people drawn into them, would have been unthinkable for a text that was received only as a novel, and one rea- son why the historical interpretations were so heated was that they were strongly politically coloured.
In practice these various strands of debate over Il Gattopardo were in- tertwined but I propose here, for the sake of clarity, to consider them sep- arately. This article concentrates on the early phase of its reception in Italy. I shall look in turn at the debates over its implied interpretation of history, its politics, its language and style and its narrative construction.
This will not be a comprehensive survey of early responses to the text. Rather, I seek to identify, by concentrating on a relatively small corpus of writings about it7, the most significant areas of debate and in particular to make sense of the more negative reactions by relating them to the literary and political culture of the time. It was, in other words, not just an adaptation or a parallel work in a different medium although it was of course these things too but also an implicit critical intervention into the de- bates about the text.
History and politics Il Gattopardo was published at a time of controversies about modern Italian history and was rapidly drawn into them. These had begun nine years before it appeared, inwhen the handful of notes on the Risorg- imento written in prison under the Fascist regime by Communist Party leader Antonio Gramsci, who had died inwere published.
These 7 Some of these texts are now available on two websites: Both these links were active as at 20 January This pulled together notes The Prince and His Critics: It had unleashed revolutionary demands and aspirations both in the cities and in rural areas.
However, these demands were not coher- ently supported by the party leaderships and, at the end of the war, the in- ternational balance of power and the presence on Italian soil of Allied troops supporting a moderate government meant there were rapid moves to restore order, legality and economic stability.
This led to the defeat of the left in the first postwar general election in April and to the crush- ing by armed force in of what remained of the peasant movement. He argued that the historical scenario outlined by Gramsci, as well as by the Communist historian Emilio Sereni, of a peasant revolution forestalled or betrayed was counter- factual. Risorgimento italiano, Torino, Einaudi, Historical debates in Italy about the Risorgimento, as these examples show, were never debates just about the Risorgimento.
They were debates about the whole of modern Italian history, deeply implicated with com- peting narratives of nation-building and with conflicting political agendas. They were therefore also investigations of the origins and nature of Fascism and, afterof the relations between the postwar years and the periods preceding it.
The Fascists themselves, in order to give historical legitimation to their seizure of power, whose first act had been the self-styled March on Rome ofhad portrayed the whole period from unification to their own arrival on the scene as one of decline.
The liberal state created in had, they claimed, rapidly deteriorated into parliamentary wrangles and prosaic state- craft after the heroic poetry of the Risorgimento. An Italian translation was published in Italian by Einaudi in Non era uno Stato; ma un sistema di prefetture malamente organizzato.
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From a Marxist position Gramsci saw unification as having led directly to Fascism in a negative sense since Fascism was, for him, the continuation, under a different form of state, of the class alliances formed in the liberal period that had served to shore up both capitalism and the residues of feudalism. Il Gattopardo was published when these debates were still very much alive.
However, just what position it took up in relation to them was not easy to specify. Critical interpretation of the novel divided on the key question of whether or not it presented a sort of apology for immobility, an implied philosophy of history that denied the possibility of change and progress. Did the novel put forward such a conservative thesis? Did the text as a whole convey the same view of the immobility of Sicily, its inert resistance to change rooted in tradition and climate, that Don Fabrizio expressed in his dialogue with Chevalley in Part IV?
Or did it accurately show political change, the transition from one order to another, the dispossession and dis- placement of the landowning nobility, and the rise of a set of new values based on acquisitiveness and ruthless political calculation, exemplified re- spectively by Don Calogero and Tancredi? In short, was its view of history restricted to that of the historically displaced nobility or did it adopt a wider perspective?
Sciascia explicitly ascribed these views to the author Tomasi di Lampedusa Mario Alicata, a prominent cultural activist within the Italian Commu- nist Party who was also closely involved with the question of the South he came originally from Reggio Calabriahad taken a different view. The book failed, for Alicata, as a historical novel be- cause it did not have a sense of wider historical processes But even as an account of the history of ruling groups it was limited, according to Alicata.
By the late s most historians of Italy, whether Marxist, liberal or conser- vative, had come to believe, and Tomasi also believed, that the Garibaldian movement had been absorbed and neutralized by Piedmontese hegemony and that Sicily had not so much been drawn into a new virtuous historical era as subjected to a new form of domination from outside. Yet the impor- tant thing to try and understand about these debates, looking back on them now, is not so much whether or not they were right in their criticisms of Il Gattopardo as a representation of history but why they censured the book for these limitations.
What exactly was wrong with a novel written from a particular class perspective — that of an enlightened and disillusioned noble author? Why did it matter that it did not represent the peasantry in more de- tail or with a more sympathetic understanding of their historical role? This brings us on to the question of politics. In the second of his two articles Aragon reported a conversation he had had with Alberto Moravia.
When Aragon sug- gested that in that case those on the left should have made it a success of the left Moravia replied: He also suggested that it had an essentially snobbish appeal to readers who liked to imagine themselves part of the refined and cultured world of the Prince: Did that not make it potentially a book of the left? Fortini acknowledged that there had been a line of leftist interpretation of the novel based on just such a claim. But he reminded his readers that Tomasi rep- resented the transfer of power in this way not in order to show, from a crit- ical standpoint, how a progressive or revolutionary alternative had been blocked but for a conservative ideological purpose: Luigi Russo, a left Crocean, though not a Marxist or a Communist, was scathing about this definition and accused those who ac- cepted it of missing the point that the novel stood ironically outside politics 20 The quoted phrases are, respectively, from ALICATA, Il principe di Lampedusa, cit.
However, few critics ac- tually made a persuasive case for it as a book of the left. The answer is that the book was published when intellectual culture in Italy was strongly politicized and when the terms of the discussion of the social responsibilities of art and in- tellectuals were evolving in a way that came to make Il Gattopardo seem curiously out of place.
At the same time postwar capitalist growth and the social and cultural changes that accompanied it — internal migrations, television and other forms of mass culture, increased leisure time, rising literacy levels — had begun to call into question the strategic efficacy and validity of traditional art practices such as lyric poetry and easel painting. The result was a con- siderable amount of soul-searching by politically conscious artists and in- tellectuals about what might now be the most appropriate and effective forms and sites of radical art: In this context, Il Gattopardo and its author were hard to place.
Its author was unknown, a loner, outside the established literary circles and currents, who had produced this one novel right at the end of his life.
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While these facts certainly gave him and his posthumous text an aura of mystery among a general reading public they were not sufficient to legitimate them within this essentially closed intellectual culture. The Tambroni government fell that summer after massive street protests in Genoa against the proposal to allow the MSI to hold its national congress in the city.
Scritti di critica e di istituzioni letterarie, Milano, Il Saggiatore, Saggi sulle forme di uno storico conflitto e di una possibile alleanza, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, Only a few lines into his analysis did he reveal that it was actually from Il Gattopardo.
But this complexity, Eco argues, falls far short of that of Proust, whose description of the first appearance of Albertine, seen by the narrator emerging from a group of other young women, is caught up in a dense web of reflection and analysis Comunicazioni di massa e teorie della cultura di massa, Milano, Bompiani, first editionpp.
In an interview of February he was asked whether for him Il Gattopardo was the most important book to have been published in These were damning judgments. Savarese was a minor Sicilian writer, most of whose work had appeared in the Fascist period.
None of these reactions to the style of Il Gattopardo recognized that its borrowing of styles from other texts might have had functions other than mere servile or unreflecting imitation.
Vittorini si con- fessa: The text moved, he claimed, between a reconstruction of the world of the nine- 34 Annalisa IZZO, Angelica e il rito interrotto. It was taken out of sub- sequent editions of that book and published as a separate volume, Le poetiche di Joyce, Mi- lano, Bompiani, The stylistic shifts and moments of pastiche were linked to these switches of narrative perspective If the terms of critical debate were changing by the late s, so too were the dominant currents in literary and film culture themselves.
There was, at the same time, a political critique from the left of the literary and linguistic conventions inherited from the nineteenth- century bourgeois novel, to which mainstream entertainment fiction, and to some extent neorealist writing too, was now seen as subscribing.
It was a time when a younger generation of writers and critics, including Eco, were challenging the canons upheld by established ones, opening up to experimentalism and avantgardism and adopting an ambivalent stance to- wards the spread of mass culture. On the one hand mass cultural forms ex- ercised a fascination as part of the currency of modernity; on the other they were seen as ideological vehicles of neocapitalism.
Lino Del Fra, Bologna, Cappelli,p. In Pasolini began what was to be a series of public speeches and articles about language in Italy and in particular the need to react against a tendency towards its bourgeois standardization or homogenization.
Palermo ottobreMilano, Feltrinelli,p.