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Saturday, 22 January 2011
Black Angel (Senso 45)
Lust or Love?
Originally filmed by Luchino Visconti in 1954 Senso 45 has been remade as Black Angel (2002) by the infamous director of European erotica Tinto Brass, best known for Caligula (1979) a film he later disowned and a film I remember seeing in a sleazy cinema in the back streets of London’s Soho shortly after its minimal released! Brass remade Senso 45 after reading Carmillo Boito’s novella and found himself unsatisfied with Visconti’s version.
The Hammersmith Palais was never like this.
The film stars Anna Galiena (The Hairdressers Husband 1990) as Livia the wife of a high ranking Fascist official trapped in an unhappy marriage and Gabriel Garko the Italian former fashion model as a German SS Officer. In this version the story is set against a background of political treachery towards the very end of World War 2. The plot concerns the aristocratic Livia on her way back to Venice to indulge in a dangerous self destructive relationship with a SS Lieutenant Helmut Schultz with whom she is having an affair unknown to her husband.
Filmed in black and white as well as colour the art-deco sets are a joy to look at and with Ennio Morricone score enforces the decadence of the era. A movie more about vanity and lust than love which went on to win Italian cinema’s Silver Ribbon award for best costume design.