Luchino Visconti

Luchino Visconti
  • Full name: Luchino Visconti
  • Date of birth: 2 November 1906

Luchino Visconti was born in Milano, on November 2, 1906. He was born into an ancient aristocratic family in Milan, one of seven children of the Grand Duke of Modrone and his wife Carla. His father owned a castle in Lombardy, served the Savoy dynasty, financed the “La Scala” theatre and was the head of the football club “Internationale” between 1914 and 1919. Visconti’s ancestors ruled Milan during two centiries; his complete title was “Nobile dei duchi, Duca di Crazzano Visconti, Conte di Lonate Pozzolo, Signore di Cordelo, Consignore di Somma, Consignore di Crenna, Consignone di Agnadello, Patrizio Milanese”.

In the early years he was exposed to art, music and theatre. He began his filmmaking career in early 30s as an assistant director of Jean Gabin. His aristocratic origins did not make it difficult for him to join Italian communist circle. During the World War II, he participated in the Resistance movement, was arrested for organisation of an anti-fascist complot and was nearly shot.

He financed his first film “Obsession” in the middle of the war with his own and Italian communist party’s money. This one as well as some other Visconti’s films originated a whole new genre – neorealist films. 

Step by step, Visconti left the simplicity of his early works, where he often used nonprofessional actors, and began to make large scale film sagas. One of these first epic works was “Rocco and his brothers”, the story of Southern Italians who migrated to Milan seeking financial stability. This film represents an encyclopaedia of Italian life after the war. Visconti’s most global project is “German trilogy”, which includes “Twilight of the Gods”, “Death in Venice” and “Ludwig”. In the end of his life, Visconti became a real cinema aesthete. He created films where each shot resembles a Renaissance painting and where profound philosophical meanings strike imagination.