Ossessione 1943

I’ve reviewed two Luchino Visconti films in the past: the impossibly devastating La Terra Trema and the wildly prophetic Bellissima (about a mother obsessed with making her baby girl a star). By no means does that make me some kind of authority on Italian neorealism, I just know I really dig the tragedy inherit in these stories. They’re so effective in translating misfortune through visuals and mise-en-scene as well, to the point that it makes dialogue almost seem unnecessary. Simply put, those two films really tickle my bummer bone the right way. That’s why I was excited to learn that Visconti’s first film is an adaptation of James M. Cain’s seedy masterpiece The Postman Always Rings Twice. For his screen version, Visconti managed to wipe away the hardboiled-ness of the original story in place of his signature sense of tragedy. The result is Ossessione, an exceptional debut and wholly unique take on a roman noir classic.