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The Leopard

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The Leopard

Directed by Luchino Visconti

At the Charles Theatre Nov. 26 at noon and Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.

Set in Sicily in the 1860s, Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard tells the story of Prince Don Fabrizio Salina (Burt Lancaster) and his slow decline in power. Rather than adjusting to Sicily’s new political landscape, he holds on to his aristocratic way of life. Nephew Tancredi (Alain Delon), on the other hand, adapts quickly, his political leanings shifting so passionately and frequently that even he loses track of his allegiances. The Leopard culminates in a 45-minute party sequence in which the opulence of the prince’s class is put on display. It’s a swan song for Fabrizio, in a way. He watches it all from a distance, knowing that it’s only a matter of time before it’s gone for good. Lancaster, previously known as an action hero, perfectly plays the role of a strong and capable nobleman. The work of cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno reflects the grandeur of the film’s protagonist as well, using elegantly crafted wide shots and long takes to allow the action within the frame to speak for itself. You have no choice but to let it all unfold, so like our hero you should sit back and enjoy the beauty while it lasts.

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