White Nights

Imported 35mm Print


Marcello Mastroianni, Maria Schell, Jean Marais, Clara Calamai,

This adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s tale about displaced, disconnected people drifting along crossing, doubling paths was shot in moody black and white on a soundstage simulacrum of Livorno, Italy. With it, Visconti veered away from verisimilitude and toward an emphatically subjective style—from neorealism to neoromanticism. As a quiet man who accidentally befriends a troubled, lonely young woman (Maria Schell) and finds himself playing understudy for the absent object of her affections (Jean Marais), Marcello Mastroianni mingles subtly passionate yearnings with a characteristic (and entirely appropriate) note of annoyance. His character is both distrustful of and seduced by the romantic dreams that preoccupy the woman he unfortunately loves; he hovers on the boundary between the abstracted heroine’s misty twilight world and the harsher light of day. The film’s sublimely artificial atmosphere is accented by flashes of odd humor, including Mastroianni’s disarmingly stilted dance to the tune of Bill Haley’s “13 Women.”

Juliet Clark
  • Luchino Visconti
  • Suso Cecchi d’Amico
Based On
  • the story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  • Giuseppe Rotunno
  • Italian
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 101 mins
  • Cinecittà
  • Janus Films