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The Garden Of The Finzi-Continis Review


Good
Here's an odd combination: A tepid love story is set in 1938 Italy amidst a backdrop of political turmoil. The oddity is the tepidness of the love story -- even Enemy of the Gates, an otherwise weak film, had the good sense to make the romance sizzle in its historical context. Although it plays an admittedly smaller role in the film, the movie's look at the apathetic, disbelieving rich of Italy during the dawn of WWII is a far more compelling tale. Somewhere in the middle lies Finzi-Continis' look at Anti-Semitism in Italy, where the "what happened in Germany could never happen here" mentality reigned. One of Vittorio De Sica's (The Bicycle Thief) final films.

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Death In Venice Review


OK
Dirk Bogarde's mustache in Death in Venice stands as one of the most disturbing hairstyles ever put on film. Combined with his semi-shaggy banker's do and his 1910s attire (say, sitting on the beach in a white three-piece suit), his appearance is unforgettable even if this movie is relatively otherwise.

Hopelessly abstract to the point of silliness, Death in Venice follows Bogarde's Gustav, a composer, on a holiday to Venice where he's meant to relax. Instead he becomes obsessed with the very idea of "beauty." It's hard to blame him -- he encounters a procession of ugly goons throughout his stay, and the already crumbling city is under seige by an outbreak of cholera. You can almost understand why he's looking for something pretty, but when his gaze lands on an androgynous teenage boy (Björn Andrésen) the film becomes beyond troubling. Gustav chases after the kid for the remainder of the film, obsessing about the cholera but subconsciously engineering ways to keep himself from having to leave Venice.

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