Conversation Piece

Director: Luchino Visconti
Country: Italy
Year: 1974
Runtime: 2hr 02min
Language: English
Subtitles: None


The Film

Conversation Piece (Italian: Gruppo di famiglia in un interno) is a 1974 Italian drama film by director Luchino Visconti. The film name refers to an informal group portrait, especially those painted in Britain in the 18th century, beginning in the 1720s. The film explores such themes as the collision between old and new, imminence of death, existential crisis and social gap between generations.

The film features an international cast including the American actor Burt Lancaster, the Austrian Helmut Berger, the Italians Silvana Mangano and Claudia Cardinale (in a very short role as the professor’s wife), and the French actress Dominique Sanda in a cameo as the professor’s mother.

The movie was shot in English language; however, an Italian dubbed version was also produced at the time, in which Lancaster’s and Berger’s lines are dubbed into Italian by other actors. We will be watching the English language version.

The film was censored in Spain for the nude and political content and because Francisco Franco’s daughter and son-in-law are mentioned. Nevertheless, it was re-released there, uncut, in 1983.

The word cunt was removed from its UK original release but restored on the British DVD edition.

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About the Director

Luchino Visconti di Modrone, Count of Lonate Pozzolo 2 November 1906 – 17 March 1976) was an Italian filmmaker, stage director, and screenwriter. A major figure of Italian art and culture in the mid-20th century, Visconti was one of the fathers of cinematic neorealism, but later moved towards luxurious, sweeping epics dealing with themes of beauty, decadence, death and European history, especially the decay of the nobility and the bourgeoisie. He was the recipient of many accolades, including the Palme d’Or and the Golden Lion, and many of his works are regarded as highly-influential to future generations of filmmakers.

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