Remembrance of Things Past: The Leopard

1960s: Days of Rage

“Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s novel The Leopard had a hard time finding a publisher but was well-known by the time Luchino Visconti began working on his film of the same name. The book appeared in Italy in 1958 and was subsequently translated into many languages—a German version can be seen lying around in Visconti’s section of the four-part film Boccaccio ’70, released in 1962 (the other episodes were directed by Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, and Mario Monicelli). Gradually, the fortunes of the two works became entwined, so that they now seem commentaries on each other in different mediums, rather than the source for a film and the adaptation of a novel. Many have remarked on the affinities between Lampedusa and Visconti, with their aristocratic interest in fading splendor and dying worlds, and there is no doubt that the film is intimately faithful to the spirit of the novel—even when it shifts…

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