The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Luchino Visconti’s ‘German Trilogy’: The Damned, Death in Venice, Ludwig (1969 – 1973) *

* (restored)


The Damned (1969) Death in Venice (1971) and Ludwig (1973) are known as Luchino Visconti’s ‘German Trilogy’. Here Visconti examines the decadence of the Belle Epoque, the corruption and confusion behind the rise of Nazism in Weimar Germany, and the story of Ludwig II of Bavaria who has been viewed as very eccentric and was the patron of Richard Wagner. Whilst some critics have marked this down as Visconti’s ‘decadent’ period, and noted an increasing pessimism in the themes that he dealt with this has frequently been over-personalised. Visconti has argued that what interested him was the analysis of a sick society, and in these films the historical forces of modernity versus counter-modernity are being played out.

“In The Damned the representation of the infamous ‘Night of the Long Knives’ when the SS slaughtered the leadership of the sexually transgressive SA of Eric Rohmer, links the growth of Nazism to a crisis of masculinity, and also explores the homo-erotic bonding of militarism which repress its own sexual excess instead transferring that into compulsory heterosexuality in tandem with patriarchal family values.

Death in Venice links Thomas Mann and Mahler, artists of the period, with a desire for youth represented as homosexual longing which was an impossible desire at that time. Representing a crisis where the new generation will be fundamentally different whilst the once resplendent Venice the most dynamic city in Europe of the Early and middle Renaissance is decaying, riven by a pestilence of a more Mediaeval type. This isolation of the wealthy and their retreat to decadence is a representation of modernity as conquering the old, marginalising the ancien regime.

Ludwig’s homosexuality can be seen as indicative of the passing of a monarchical system reliant upon hereditary and therefore compulsory heterosexuality. This dovetails two themes. Patriarchal systems based upon physical reproduction have become outmoded and unstable. A newer form of patriarchy is necessary to achieve stability. For Ludwig to express his desire even as a monarch means to regress from the social reality of the moment only when Bavaria has been subjugated to Prussia leaving a token monarchy can Ludwig act out his desires in a limited way.” — Kinoeye


The Damned (1969)


“It’s been suggested that there’s incest between Hamlet and his mother in Shakespeare’s play, but between them there’s lots of things in addition to the incest; Hamlet never actually has intercourse with his mother, and even in my film The Damned I was able to convince [the censors] that the scene was very elliptical. However, when I showed them the film with a tiny cut, they asked for a much longer cut, one which would have eliminated the whole scene, so I refused and stuck to it (…) I said I could have cut more of that scene, but that I would have been forced to insert a counter-camp, and I said it would have made everything more graphic, because you would actually see a naked man and a naked woman on a bed. So I cut this counter-camp in and I showed them the film again, and they immediately agreed to go back to that only one tiny cut.” — Luchino Visconti

The Damned won Visconti his sole Academy Award nomination, for best screenplay, shared with his two co-writers.” — BBC Four

“When Visconti asked me to be in The Damned, I said to him, “Look. I can’t play this role.” He said, “I know you can do it,” and I said, “How?” and he said, “I can see it behind your eyes. Just listen to me. I’m going to make you up, I’m going to change your style, I’m going to make you look like a woman in her thirties, you’re going to have beautiful clothes, a beautiful set, you’re going to have beautiful people around you. I’m going to put you into this place and you’re going to have to do what you have to do. I can’t act for you. I can do everything else for you, but I can’t act for you. Will you act for me?” I said, “Senor, si! Grazia!” And I did. With Helmut Berger he was an absolute tyrant. He told Helmut every single thing to do. Everything. Every movement. But with the women, he was – I don’t know how he was with Ingrid Thulin because we didn’t have so many scenes together – certainly with me and Romy Schneider, he just puts you in this most incredible situation where you feel like a princess and you’re absolutely loved, and you’re dressed and you’re made-up and he says, “Just now act for me.” And with his women it was like that. With the men it was very different.” — Charlotte Rampling



“Visconti’s intention in The Damned is not to present a realistic character driven drama but a highly stylized metaphor for Germany’s descent into insanity. He intentionally uses extreme grotesque images, with one scene more bizarre than the next. The film is filled with moments of great sadness, perversion and horror that include themes of incest, pedophilia, homosexuality, murder, drug addiction and suicide. One of the highlights of the film is a bloodbath — the historical “Night of the Long Knives,” massacre of Hitler’s old private army. This memorably horrific set-piece is superbly staged, beggining with a pastoral scene of soldiers playing in a lake, then progressing into an almost surreal drunken orgy of soldiers, naked women, men in drag, finally leading to the brutal massacre.

“Visconti dramatizes alienation and madness in a very similar way that Stanley Kubrick handled similar themes in A Clockwork Orange. He photographs these acts of violence and perversion with detached but almost pictorial beauty. Everyone’s sweats in this movie: drops of perspiration trickle down temples, and rivers of sweat glisten on upper lips while the baroque lavishness of the scenery makes a striking contrast with the ghastly minds of the characters. The cinematography is brilliant, capturing the decaying elegance impecably. Visconti uses a Hammer-horror pop color palette emphasizing the intense contrast between shadow and light (good vs. evil), blues, browns and reds. In the opening scene, he shoots the blasting furnaces of the steelworks factory, flames and smoke coming up from the furnaces as the titles jump on and off the screen and we hear the harrowing music theme by Maurice Jarre; a fitting metaphor of Hell and of the horrors and depravity which will follow.

“With The Damned, Visconti reassures himself again a spot right up there, into the pantheon of great directors. One can see the influence of The Damned on later films such as Bob Fosse’s Cabaret or the psycho sexual drama The Night Porter. The film was originally rated X due to its challenging subject matter, but Visconti’s craft and talent elevates this epic drama to a higher artistic level. With its brilliant set design, spectacular costumes, the intensity of Helmut Berger and Ingrid Thulin performances, Luchino Visconti’s The Damned is a feverish masterpiece not to be discarded.” — from ‘The Spinning Image’





Luchino Visconti on the set of The Damned


Death in Venice (1971)


“Some shots of Björn Andrésen, the Tadzio of the film, could be extracted from the frame and hung on the walls of the Louvre or the Vatican in Rome. For this is not a pretty youngster who is supposed to represent an object of perverted lust; that was neither novelist Mann’s nor director-screen writer Visconti’s intention. Rather, this is a symbol of a beauty allied to those which inspired Michelangelo’s David and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and which moved Dante to seek ultimate aesthetic catharsis in the distant figure of Beatrice.” — from Lawrence J. Quirk, ‘The Great Romantic Films’

“In his memoir, An Orderly Man, Dirk Bogarde relates that, after the finished film of Death in Venice was screened for them by Visconti in Los Angeles, the Warner Bros. executives wanted to write off the project, fearing it would be banned in the United States for obscenity because of its subject matter. They eventually relented when a gala premiere of the film was organized in London, with Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Anne in attendance, to gather funds for the sinking city.”

“Luchino Visconti’s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novella Death In Venice visibly had a strong influence on Ron and Russell Mael aka the band Sparks. In their early performances Sparks got a miniature ocean liner made out of papier-mache, and Russell Mael had burst out of it wearing a dark sailor suit to begin the show. The ideas of the miniature ocean liner and the sailor suit were obviously inspired by Lucchino Visconti’s movie despite Russell’s suit was dark instead of the white one wore by the main young character Tadzio from the movie. When the first Halfnelson album failed, the Bearsville label thought the record should be repackaged under the name “Sparks” with a revamped packaging too. So Ron Mael and manager/ photographer Larry Dupont designed the album cover with the fake brick wall. It just wasn’t as interesting as the original first car interior cover but the pic featured Russell Mael in the famous sailor suit inspired by Luchino Visconti’s movie. When Sparks’ second album, A Woofer In Tweeter’s Clothing, was released one year later it included the song “Moon Over Kentucky”. The intro of this song was written by Ron Mael after seeing Death In Venice. — from ‘Sparks: the Early Years’



“If The Damned displays a violent assault on space, Visconti’s adaptation of Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice shows it slowly dissolving. Twenty years before Wong Kar-wai, Visconti had already penetrated the private space of a lonely, romantically obsessed individual and summoned up his emotional landscape through the expressive use of an urban environment and music. Like the furnace that sets the scene in The Damned, Death in Venice states its mood and pace in its opening image, an incredibly slow shot floating from the middle of a dusk-blue mist into the Venetian lagoon across which the boat bearing composer Gustav von Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde) to the city of his death passes. Accompanied by the music of Gustav Mahler, upon whom the character of the composer was based, this shot slowly brings the story into focus, just as at the end it again drifts out of focus. This lends a sense of instability to the melancholy, dreamlike interim. Visconti’s descriptive camera is allowed to dominate the film because there is simply nothing but description and observation in this film. As in The Damned, Visconti makes expert use of the zoom lens, but this time the zooms are for the most part slow and exploratory. The camera glides endlessly across the hotel and its guests, as well as the beaches with their numerous holidaymakers, often starting a shot as if it were from von Aschenbach’s point of view, only to finish with him in shot, creating a subtle sense of disorientation.

“The only action in this film is what goes on within Aschenbach’s mind and it is by colouring the potentially neutral, at times almost documentary scenes that Visconti creates with the appropriate mood that he brings this film to life. Compared to the crushing solidity of Ludwig, space here is frequently subjective, a screen on which the dying hero projects his feelings. At the same time, this space remains mysteriously aloof from him, displaying all the inscrutability of a foreign country. This slightly threatening aspect of Venice is hinted at from the outset. As von Aschenbach is brought by gondola from the boat at the opening of the film, a dispute with the gondoleer leaves Aschenbach muttering worriedly to himself: “I don’t understand”. In the final stages of Death in Venice, when von Aschenbach discovers evidence of a cholera epidemic locals are trying to cover up for the sake of the tourist industry, the menacing aspect comes to the fore, the now corrupt beauty of the alleys and canals of Venice holding a lurking sense of death and danger far more powerful than even that evoked by Nicolas Roeg in Don’t Look Now (1973) with its more obviously grand Guignol trappings. Roeg’s rainswept, off-season Venice is immediately inhospitable, whereas Visconti, the master of decadence, seduces us with his painterly vision only to gradually reveal the danger at its heart. This parallels the process of Aschenbach’s hopeless love for a boy he has spotted on the beach and his ultimate death in pursuit of his ideal, Visconti once again using space to tell his story, this time with a delicacy that he would never surpass.” – from ‘Visconti’s Cinema of Twilight’, by Maximilian Le Cain





the entire film


Ludwig (1973)


“One would spontaneously put Visconti’s Ludwig in the category of films that are bigger than cinema and more audacious than their time. Their mere existence challenges the dullness of daily life, the materialism of the century… And in this film of over-proportionate ambition, the filmmaker could not remain smaller than his subject: Ludwig, no more than Linderhof castle, is meant to be inhabited.” — Olivier Assayas

“In Helmut Berger’s Ludwig, Visconti’s echt aestheticism finds its last champion, its Tristan, and also its supreme sacrificial victim, its Christ. Ludwig is a passion play: a mass.” — James McCourt



‘Visconti’s best films have the rare quality of existing in space as much, if not more, than in time. It is an intensely visual style of filmmaking, which involves immersing the audience in the atmosphere of each scene and gradually overwhelming them with it as opposed to rushing from one scene to the next in pursuit of narrative tension. Of all the directors who, each in their own very unique way, practice a similar approach – Dreyer, Antonioni, Tarkovsky, Jansco, Angelopoulos, Tarr, certain films by Kubrick and Wenders – Visconti is the most subtle, consciously or unconsciously cloaking his radicalism in the ‘respectability’ of the period genre. I would argue that this radicalism was achieved through constant striving to tell his stories more vividly rather than by making use of any preconceived aesthetic programme. In this way, Visconti can be perceived as the transitional figure in European cinema between classicism and modernism.

Ludwig deals with an aristocrat isolated by changing times, in this case the King of Bavaria. Melancholy gives way to neurosis; the romantic atmosphere has become that of a gothic horror film, with Helmut Berger’s tormented King hiding from the world like a vampire as he descends into escapism, illness and insanity. Ludwig is a film about a man avoiding coming to terms with change, put in a position of leadership for which he is hopelessly unfit and which he uses to hide from the world. It is an icy, spare, claustrophobic record of decadence and degeneration. Each scene has the feeling of a solemn ceremony or, at times, an historical tableau. His view of events is detached, reflecting both the hero’s helplessness and his increasingly tenuous grip on reality.

“In one powerful scene, we follow Ludwig into a room full of relatives, through a complicated process of bowing and hand kissing. In the middle of it all he becomes aware of a personal betrayal. Almost overwhelmed with fury and grief, he goes through the same formal procedure before leaving the room. The scene is not played as a stiff upper lip exercise in putting a good front on things. Rather it is bitterly farcical, the King’s body trembling with humiliation as he goes through the empty procedures. Ludwig is the story of a man trapped by destiny, history, and his own personal failings. And, in what is Visconti’s most extreme film, he is a man trapped by the walls that enclose him.

“Ludwig is ultimately a man crushed and destroyed by architecture. Having been deposed by the government as mentally unfit to govern, he is silently escorted by his captors in an interminable real time scene down an endless series of corridors to his bleak, sterile cell. It is at moments like this that Visconti’s leisurely pace turns almost sadistic, yet the relentless oppressiveness of corridor after corridor is genuinely chilling and, taken in the right spirit, possesses a hypnotic, mercilessly compacted power. It is the natural conclusion to Ludwig’s ever contracting world, a final imprisonment. All that is left is his mysterious death by drowning the first time he is let out for a walk in the grounds.” — from Viscont’s Cinema of Twilight, by Maximilian Le Cain




the entire film

Helmut Berger in Ludwig 1881




p.s. Hey. ** Jamie Fi, Your name grew a letter! Link is the ultimate role model, at least if you’re a sporty type. I am not. Oh, good, about you having nailed the appropriate feedback. High five. Oh, I just meant that fiction should have no more restrictions placed upon it than you put on your imagination. I just phrased that over-fussily. Paris Ass was crowded and somewhat pleasurable to walk through although it felt, with a few exceptions, like almost every booth there was offering slight variations on the same thing: books or zines full of arty, vaguely edgy homoerotic photos and illustrations with the occasional bit of vaguely political overlaid text. So it was a bit numbing too. Happy that the weekend’s novel caught your eye. Sincerely, DC. ** Huckleberry Shelf, Hi. Oh, my true pleasure. Way too under the radar, although I feel like there’s some kind of very slight resurgence in interest in his work of late. Do you know the films of Scott Barley, who was/is kind of an acolyte of Solomon’s? If not, I’m restoring a post on his work coming up this week. Plain spoken, narrative poetry sounds good. Mine was kind of that nature when I was writing poetry. That’s fantastic about acing the competition! Amy Gerstler, in addition to be an amazing poet, is my oldest friend. I’m speaking to her this weekend, and I’ll ask her about it. Listen, if she chose you, you can take confidence from that as she has an impeccable eye and taste. That’s wonderful news! Definitely post that here when the time comes. I’d love to read your work. Thanks so much. Awesome day to you! ** Lucas, Hi, Lucas. No, I didn’t buy anything. Honestly, I have so many books and far too few bookshelves to accommodate them that I’ve gotten pretty good at checking my whims when I see books I think might be total finds in the moment. But it was fun enough to browse and so on. For sure, the taste and tolerance out there for art that’s daring and challenging seems to be at its all time lowest, at least in my lifetime of awareness. There’s so much fear and defensiveness out there on seemingly every level. I don’t understand it. Sion Sono is cool, yeah. I did a Sono post ages ago. Maybe I should restore it. Bresson, Rivette, and early Godard … that’s a holy trio right there. I guess you probably know that Bresson is my artist God. Him and Hollis Frampton. I watched ‘Duelle’ again not along ago, and it made me very excited. At least theoretically, I think it’s awesome that you startled the assembled people. Making people question what they know and think is kind of ultimate achievement. Especially these days when, as we just discussed, that’s the last thing people want to do. Obviously, I hope your family is chill when you make the reveal. I was outed as a queer boy with a very weird imagination when I was quite young because my mom snooped around in my room and found something I’d written. It got a little rough-ish for a while, but it was good because that’s when I realised my friends were my actual family, if that makes any sense. Your comments are awesome and not lengthy at all, and it’s a boon to get to talk-type with you. Upwardly mobile vibes and energies back to you. ** Dominik, Hi!!! Thomas gets 98% of the credit. Oh, the ugly relationship with you-know-who can’t really get much uglier, so, yeah. I think the festivals’ announcements are in August or thereabouts. I have a sort of ‘in’ at one of them, so I’m hoping we’ll hear one way or the other sooner than that in the one case at least. After love gets rid of the world noise maybe he can get rid of the strong smell of pot being continually smoked by a neighbor which is getting a little old, G. ** Bill, Hi, B. Oh, thank you for the link up with Joe Gibbons. I’ll hit that straight away. Week ahead looking okay? ** tomk, My true and only honor, Mr. T. Thank you again for that and everything. ** Cletus Crow, Hi! Glad it caught you. I just saw your email, and I’ll get back to you today. Happy Monday. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Me too, I’m very curious to see ‘Megalopolis’. Everything negative I’ve read about it just sounds like very conservative, uptight crit. I mean, who knows, but it sure sounds like something ** Harper, Hey. Thank you for the qualifiers about those parks. Both are frequently discussed amongst park aficionados, and we’re mostly curious to find out what they are. Also, every country’s parks have a particular quality that seems endemic to the country they’re in, at least in our experience. And that’s very interesting too. Like Scandinavian parks seem/look/feel very Scandinavian somehow. Same with German, Japanese, US ones. We’re a bit fanatical about the amusement park form. Maybe we’ll try Chessington too. Depressing can be nice. The only UK amusement park we’ve been to Diggerland, the park whose rides are made of repurposed earth moving equipment. That was certainly unique if nothing else. Human contact is pretty extremely important, yeah, I think so. I say that as someone who’s highly capable of just holding up and writing and so on for long lengths of time and winding up disoriented and, as you put it, overly pressurised. That’s the worst. I feel pressured a lot. So, yeah, I guess add some solid friends time in your time ahead? Even Zooming helps a lot, at least for me. Same from me to you: goodness and inspiration galore. ** Darby🐌🦋, Buddy’s good, I like ‘buddy’. It’s fun to be kind of corny. No argument about ‘Night Goat’. I have fondness for ‘The Maggot’ too. My mood is mostly good but with problems that need to be solved. Nice about your friend. It doesn’t seem weird, but you should see my friends. Weirdos all. Do I want to see the picture of the doll? Of course! You know me. Two-three weeks, wow, how old fashioned. That’s kind of nice. I used to buy these 3D photo taking disposable cameras, and the turn around on them was months! ** Uday, Hi. Oh, ha ha, don’t get excited by the words special effects. In our case that just means things like erasing the camera crew’s visibility in a window in one shot and removing the actual name of the school where we shot the ‘school’ scene. Things like that. I’ve only seen clips from ‘Mahagonny’. I keep thinking they’ll screen it here in Paris, but they haven’t yet. October-November … I’m doing a reading in NYC at the beginning of October and tentatively planning to go to LA afterwards for Halloween, but I’m in limbo because we’re waiting to hear if our film gets into one of the two festivals we’re being considered by because they take place in that period, and that will determine where I need to be, if they do bite. Congrats on your move being history? Now you get to set up your new world? Or maybe that’s a done deal? I’m going to go for broke and wish you a day that’s both happy and interesting. It’s not impossible. ** Okay. A reader of this blog who’s a big Visconti fan asked me if I would restore this old Visconti-centric post, and, of course, I did just that. See you tomorrow.


  1. Dominik


    Uh. August is pretty far off, so I really hope you’ll hear back from at least that one sooner than that!

    There’s a house we pass every morning that, even from the outside and with its windows closed, smells so thickly of pot it’s crazy. I can’t imagine what it must be like inside.

    Love deciding to watch “Challengers” because everyone seems to be talking about it, Od.

  2. Charalampos

    Hi. Ludwig is one I like very much and out of his earliest Senso is a good one. I have to watch more. I feel Conversation Piece is totally for me.
    Which one of Amy Gerstler books of poetry would you think I would like? I will go back to your fave poetry books post to see which one you said because I don’t remember
    I like every time you mention Rivette as I am big fan. Makes sense that you liked Duelle. I think of the scene with Nicole Garcia and the amulet every time I use amulet motif in my poems drawings.
    I have a feeling that you would be super into OUT 1, if you have not seen. Please don’t let the running time scare you please. And don’t wait for a rare screening I don’t know if they happen still and watch it at home. But I don’t know if you have seen or the running time is scary. It is one of my faves but I love his films in general

    Love from deadly sun above all Crete

  3. Tosh Berman

    I’m going through a Visconti phase in my life right now. I just saw Conversation Piece and Senso. Amazing works. He, Pasolini, Fellini, and others made such a huge presence in cinema. Dennis, have you spent any time in Italy?

  4. Lucas

    hi dennis,

    I’m glad it was fun at least. I can definitely relate to having too few bookshelves to accommodate all the books I want to buy. though personally I think I’ll manage if I clean it out and donate some old stuff. outside of some posters and printed out little photos I put up on my wall last year (dylan and rimbaud both represented multiple times there for your interest) my room has been basically the same for a decade, so it’s time for some changes anyways.

    it’d be great if you restored that sion sono post. I know you’re a bresson fan too, in fact the first movie of his that I watched was also the devil probably and it totally changed me. it’s cool we have that in common.

    I can see what you mean with it being awesome that I startled them, it was exciting and only a little scary. and I kind of feel like my friends are my true family, too, though it sucks because they all live so far away in my case. and re: people becoming more defensive and scared of everything, that’s basically the only thing I see on twitter now, which is really the only place I use to talk to my friends, so yeah, that’s also not great. again, I hope that all changes soon and I find friends irl, bla bla.

    this week is going to be really dull for me so I hope yours will be complete opposite? in a good interesting way of course. although, since my last final is this week, I’ll be going to an amusement park with my classmates next monday. I’m not crazy about them personally, but I know how much you like them, so if you want I can take some photos then? I’m not sure how it works, if I can attach a photo to my comment or something, but I’ll figure it out

  5. _Black_Acrylic

    Never seen Ludwig but I do love the rest of this trilogy so it’s only a matter of time.

    I do have a fondness for a visionary filmmaker pursuing a madman’s dream.

  6. Sypha

    Usually with these filmmaker posts it seems I haven’t seen anything by the filmmaker in question (I’m not exactly the world’s biggest cinephile), but today I can at least say that I’ve seen DEATH IN VENICE… heck, I even read the book.

    I have been trying to catch up on some movies this year, however, mainly catching a bunch of the Coen Brothers films that I’ve missed over the years (THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, BURN AFTER READING, A SERIOUS MAN). Though there are still 4 that they’ve done that I have not seen (THE LADYKILLERS, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, HAIL CAESAR, and THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS). What are your thoughts on the Coen Brothers, Dennis? I seem to recall you once had FARGO on your favorite films list.

  7. Tomás

    Hey Dennis! This is my first time posting on the blog. Really love everything you do here and I make it a routine to check it every morning. Thanks to it I’ve put Catherine Breillat on my watchlist and discovered Diane Williams. Not very familiar with Visconti’s work but I recognized Charlotte Rampling from one of the stills and I loved her in The Night Porter.

    I’m currently about to embark in life after grad school (studied film) and moving to NYC. I read that you used to live there. Any recommendations on how to tackle such a massive and hostile city? I know it can be daunting!

    As I write this Ian Curtis sings “I’ve been waiting for a guy to come and take me by the hand”. Seems appropriate.

    Hope your week is up to a good start!

    • Billy

      I remember when I was a teenager I tried to suggest a queer reading of ‘Disorder’: ‘I’ve been waiting for a guy to come and take me by the hand, because these sensations make me feel the pleasures of another man’ My friend slapped me down and told me it was GUIDE, not guy, and ANOTHER LAND not another man, but, according to google we were both wrong and it’s ‘a normal man.’ But I can’t imagine Curtis would mind?

  8. Steve

    LUDWIG’s the only Visconti film I haven’t seen. I just looked it up on the Criterion Channel, and I was surprised they’re not streaming it.

    I can sense a hesitancy in some of MEGALPOLIS’ mixed reviews. Everyone’s aware how unfairly films like ISHTAR & HEAVEN’S GATE were treated upon release, and the idea of Coppola spending $120 million of his own money on a dream project commands a degree of respect.

    Where will you be reading in New York?

    Once your film hits the festival circuit, will Producer Fuckhead be out of the picture? If it gets acquired and released, do they still profit off whatever money it makes?

  9. Billy

    Hi Dennis! Love the German Trilogy! I got the criterion cut of The Damned which seems to have cropped the great shot of Charlotte Rampling putting on her pearls. Very excited to read the new one when it comes out -haven’t pre-ordered as I’ve managed to blow through four jobs in six months but Inshallah it will all come right.


  10. Huckleberry Shelf

    Oh man, Scott Barley. Sleep Has Her House has been on the list for ages but I’ve put it off. I’ll have to see it. Is that your favorite of his films? I haven’t heard much about his other work but I know he’s been pretty prolific.

    Love Death in Venice a lot, haven’t seen the other two in this post. The Damned particularly looks great. I love any Dirk Bogarde.

  11. Harper

    Hey Dennis. Oh my God, I’ve been to diggerland, I totally blocked that out! Yes, I suppose that’s the kind of quaint thing that defines a lot of UK theme parks. I remember going to Park Asterix in France and being very annoyed when there wasn’t any boar (this was during my meat eating days), because they are always eating wild boar in the comics. Have you been to that one?

    I’ve seen both films minus ‘Ludwig’. Apparently ‘The Damned’ was one of Fassbinder’s ten favourite films and I can definitely see what he might have taken from it. I love ‘The Damned’ and personally really like the overdubbed sound thing in Italian movies from this period, definitely not for the intended reason, but I like how it makes the performances look very non-acterly if that makes sense? And the recorded dialogue sounds very flat because it’s impossible to mimic the atmosphere of a performance within a studio where you’re not being filmed. I rewatched ‘Death in Venice’ recently as well. I was actually reading about how the movie was really big in Japan and the boy who plays Tadzio went on to become the model for several characters in various mangas. From what I’ve read, a lot of manga and anime has an objectification problem, but I’m not an expert. Anyway, ‘Ludwig’ is the top of my list.

  12. Bernard Welt

    Me voici. In Paris, I mean. “Paris, I am in you.” I think I can text you pretty easily. Tomorrow Sabrina and I have a work talk, and this whole week I am freaking out a little about deadlines. Plus I’m clearly jet-lagged–didn’t sleep last night and now I’m up at 1 am. Please excuse if I’m weirder than usual in our next communication.
    I’m afraid to see Death in Venice again because I thought it was so good and so smart once, and what if I don’t like it now? Still, it was smart to translate an incredibly wordy book into images and music.
    Everybody knows what Helmut Berger said when Visconti accused him of never having done a real day’s work in his life, right? I can’t repeat it here because this is a family newspaper.

  13. Jamie Fi

    Hey DC 😀

    Yes, my name did grow a letter, haha!

    I feel like I should explain now! So, ‘Fi’ is a pseudonym I use sometimes. It’s the first two letters of my last name, but also the cognitive function of my MBTI type, ‘Feeling, introverted’ (Fi). What a coincidence! (Pretty cringe I know). I got into MBTI types a few years ago. My personality type is INFP (the healer). Have you ever done an MBTI test or do you know what your type is? I imagine you’re very cynical about stuff like that, which is understandable! Maybe one day I’ll be so absent-minded I’ll just type out my full name instead, haha, wouldn’t that be fun (not).

    Oh, I see, about the ‘no limits’ approach to fiction. I assumed that was what you meant, but I wanted to make sure, in case there was some unknown list of writer consequences that I hadn’t yet considered! Like a portrait of Dorian Gray in an attic. Good to know there aren’t!! Let the wild horses of the mind run free (see, I can be poetic, haha.)

    I’m sure I would have loved Paris Ass, vaguely homoerotic and vaguely political sounds like a winning mix. Though I understand what you mean about becoming numb to it after enough time.

    I love theme parks too! I’ve been to Alton Towers many times, I used to beg to go to Thorpe Park for my birthday as a teen but everyone said it was ‘too far’ and I never got to go -sad-.

    There are some pretty great rollercoasters at Alton Towers though. Did you know, due to the location of Alton Towers on a protected historic manor estate, there are strict height restrictions on the rollercoasters!? And that led to some pretty innovative designs. Well, there used to be restrictions, that is why the ride ‘Nemesis’ is obscured and built into a sort of quarry. (That is a fun ride btw, well, I used to think so when I went in the 2000s.)

    So funny you went to Diggerland! Whereabouts was it!? I think there are a few Diggerland’s in the UK. Maybe.

    Also, I just wanted to mention, the lovely Harper let me read some of their fiction and it was really great!

    All the best and have a great week 😊

    Jamie F(i)

  14. Kyler

    What a great trilogy. I saw Ludwig once but this version, I think, is only in Italian. I’ll try to find subtitles on my other laptop. I’d definitely watch the almost 4 hours again if I can find the English.

    Have you ever had back pain Dennis? I’ve been dealing with sciatica for a while, feeling better today, doing acupuncture and physical therapy. Reading a few excellent books on the subject – a new reading experience for me! Not my usual reads. One just arrived today, a best seller that a friend told me changed her life: Healing Back Pain: The Mind-body Connection, by John E Sarno. A new kind of literature for me! I’m determined to beat this thing!

  15. Dev

    Hi again! Visconti is probably my favorite director, though I rarely watch films so the list of directors I’m actually familiar with isn’t that long. His work is just visually delicious, and I am a sucker for lengthy, kind of grandiose movies which he did a lot of. That David Leo Rice book from last post sounds fascinating. Definitely going on my to-read list. Re: your response to Lucas, I was also outed as a teen (because my mom read my text messages) and I had to pretend it was a phase to avoid getting kicked out. My pathology is that I care too much what my family thinks, so their rejection hurt a lot and still does, even though it didn’t surprise me. You’re smart to have kept some emotional distance. Did yours ever come around? No pressure to answer if it’s too personal. On a lighter note, I’m moving to New Orleans this week. Can’t wait to spend the next four years trying as many top tier restaurants as reasonably possible, lol.

  16. Darby🐼

    Oh wow ok. Haha yeah, budd it is ! Or bud , I think im weird because I causaully use old slangs. Well maybe not.
    Oh my friend wasnt weird! Well yeah kind of, but im not thinking the way your thinking. I mean I have eccentric friends but I think it was the situation that was weird. She was psychotic for a bit, did messed up things, and now its like, fuck so are we gonna talk about that?
    Anyways hey I started school today : Art appreciation and Intro to Sociology. changed Psychology for Sociology and I am happy I did,

    Hey you remember this? like a year ago when I was somewhat unhinged, but read zealously, one of the books I might have mentioned was “The outsider” a son’s memoir on his father, a schizophrenic sociologist who ended up dying homeless in NY. Do you like reading memoirs and mental health books? From Oliver Sacks, to first account perspectives like…. I dunno.. but ya get what im saying? “Go ask Alice” There’s an example, bleh brain frog.
    Ahhgh this is such a favorite topic of mine, but I don’t want to ramble.
    Theres a book I treat as a bible and weird grounding tool when I become dissociative and do other bad shit its called “I never Promised You A Rose Garden.” Its such a good book. Hey when I sent you that book I thought about sending a copy so u could read it but I said, ub yeah no haha, its my crumbly annotated relic!
    I think I wrote thuis in about five minutes so srry if theres errors

  17. Uday

    Oh. Special effects or not, I’m still excited! Keeping in mind the availability; I’ll check in closer. Would be nice if you could make it but I’ll try to see you in Paris regardless. I did set up my new world! At least for the next 6 weeks. Then I move again, stay there for about 6 weeks and move again. Maybe I should aim for some sense of permanency. Someday. My day was indeed happy, but not too interesting, although I did manage to reread Halldor Laxness’ wonderful Under the Glacier. It’s hard to have interesting things happen on an empty, isolated college campus but in faith to your wishes I’ll do my best. What’s your favourite post you’ve done on here? Probably a silly question since you once told me you don’t go for superlatives like that.

  18. Barkley

    Now I’ll be listening to Björn Andrésen’s Japanese pop ballads… Hi Dennis, thank you a whole bunch for the recommendations… I’ve been listening to some Peter Sotos, it’s really hard to find his stuff… Hearing him read out his writing had some kind of effect on me though. It’s so cool that you got to see the Mike Kelley thing, I’ve only read through the book version of ‘Day Is Done’ but it caught my interest even in that form. I never went to any kind of school so seeing someone deconstruct the social aspects of it in an actually effecting way was really cool… I think exploring the educational system as the “educational complex” and the interplays of these things stuck out to me a lot? I kinda wish more people really cared about what was going on inside kids’ heads.

    Saw the words “books or zines full of arty, vaguely edgy homoerotic photos and illustrations with the occasional bit of vaguely political overlaid text.” and couldn’t help but mentally recoil a bit. I keep running into those with barely anything to differentiate them from one another or anything else behind it… Anyways.

    I hope things are going well. If you ever have the time could you tell me if my ideas are completely stupid? I have a lot of things rattling around in my head for this art thing.

  19. Oscar 🌀


    It’s always wild when the post of the day is a cinema one, because I realise my knowledge of ‘em is so, so, so slim. Gotta fix that! Also saw a few comments about Alton Towers while I was catching up on the blog and can confirm that, yeah, it’s got that weird UK theme park feel but it’s really worth a visit. There’s one ride there called Galactica where you’re, like, upside down (Wikipedia claims this is called a flying roller coaster (???)) and there’s an optional VR headset. Pretty cool. Definitely recommend.

    Weird and random Q, but have you heard about this Character.AI thing? I’ve been reading through the subreddit for it, and you’ve got people spending like 50+ hours per week talking to fictional characters?? It’s pretty wild. I always find stuff like that mad interesting. I can’t imagine doing anything for 50 hours.

    Hope you’re having the chillest of Tuesday mornings if at all possible, and that, amongst other things, you see a cloud whose shape makes you go ‘huh! cool!’ and maybe even smile a little.

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