The Conversation Piece -Luchino Visconti

  • (Burt Lancaster and Helmut Berger)

    Conversation Piece by Luchino Visconti

    Burt Lancaster is a model of subtlety in Visconti’s most candid self-portrait

    A detailed, French-made documentary on Visconti and Conversation Piece is if anything more compelling than the film. We learn of Lancaster’s rushing to the stroke-afflicted Visconti’s side to commit to the film and win Italian producers’ approval, and how, without the director’s knowledge, he undertook to complete work on it if Visconti’s health failed completely. There are excellent testimonials, among others, from Renata Franceschi, script supervisor and speaker of the best-articulated Italian I’ve ever heard, and two of the actors – Patrizi, looking good in the early 2000s, and Berger, decidedly raddled. A short essay by a sober Italian critic adds a few more piquant details to the mix; the only pity is that the nitty-gritty of Visconti’s relationship with Berger is skimped in both extras