Giovanna, a petrol station owner’s wife, meets drifter Gino in the Po Delta. She wants to escape her dreary life at the side of her dull husband and demands unconditional love from Gino. Regarded as a precursor to neorealism, Visconti’s adaptation of the novel by James M. Cain pares down its crime fiction tropes to concentrate more on its melodramatic and existential aspects: the barren landscapes provide the framework for and confines of passions that neither help people escape material poverty nor social constraints. Visconti contrasts the realism of the locations with the artificiality of his mise-en-scène, creating brief moments in which the characters detach themselves from their world. In Italy, the film was cut by almost 40 minutes on "moral grounds". The version being screened here is the most extensive version of the film to date.
by Luchino Visconti
with Massimo Girotti, Clara Calamai, Juan de Landa, Elio Marcuzzo, Vittorio Duse, Dhia Cristiani, Michele Riccardini, Michele Sakara
Italy 1942 Italian 140’ Black/White


  • Massimo Girotti (Gino)
  • Clara Calamai (Giovanna)
  • Juan de Landa (Bragana)
  • Elio Marcuzzo
  • Vittorio Duse
  • Dhia Cristiani
  • Michele Riccardini
  • Michele Sakara


Director Luchino Visconti
Screenplay Mario Alicata, Giuseppe de Santis, Antonio Pietrangeli, Gianni Puccini, Luchino Visconti, Alberto Moravia
Cinematography Aldo Tonti, Domenico Scala
Editing Mario Serandrei
Music Giuseppe Rosati

Produced by

I . C . I.

Additional information

Courtesy Viggo S.R.L.

Luchino Visconti

Born in Milan in 1906. In 1942, he completed his debut film Ossessione. Visconti then directed films that contributed to the birth of Italian neorealism. From the 1960s onwards, his film work primarily focused on the world of the upper middle class and the nobility. His films include literary adaptations such as Il Gattopardo and the so-called 'German Trilogy' (La caduta degli dei, Morte a Venezia, Ludwig). Visconti also directed numerous plays and operas. He died in 1976.


1945 Giorni di gloria (Tage des Ruhms); 70 min., Retrospective 1990 1948 La Terra Trema (Die Erde bebt); 165 min., Forum 1972, Retrospective 1997 1951 Bellissima; 151 min., Retrospective 2006 1954 Senso (Sehnsucht); 117 min., Retrospective 1988 1957 Le notti bianche (White Nights / Weiße Nächte); 102 min., Retrospective 2006 1960 Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers / Rocco und seine Brüder); 177 min. 1963 Il Gattopardo (The Leopard / Der Leopard); 184 min. 1965 Vaghe stelle dell' Orsa... (Sandra); 100 min., Retrospective 2005 1969 La caduta degli dei (The Damned / Die Verdammten); 156 min., Homage 2019 1971 Morte a Venezia (Death in Venice / Tod in Venedig); 130 min. 1973 Ludwig (Ludwig II.); 238 min. 1974 Gruppo di famiglia in un interno (Conversation Piece / Gewalt und Leidenschaft); 117 min. 1976 L’Innocente (The Innocent / Die Unschuld); 129 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2020