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Death in Venice
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Death in Venice

1971
Drama
2h 10m
In this adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel, avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach (loosely based on Gustav Mahler) travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period of artistic and personal stress (imdb)
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Death in Venice

1971
Drama
2h 10m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 63.86% from 838 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(838)
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Rated 12 May 2011
75
79th
hey, wanna see a gay book getting fucked in the ass by long lenses and repeated nauseating zooms? Sure, but hey - nice symbolic motifs, though! In fact, making Aschenbach a composer instead of a poet(like the book), and let the music(along with close-ups) serve as emotional cues is pretty clever. Some of the more understated themes come across brilliantly - oh, if hadn't been for those damn lenses..
Rated 05 Jul 2010
68
10th
A film about a sick music proffesor going to rest in Venice. This man is unlikeable, uninteresting, snobbish, arrogant and pretentious. Or in short - boring and annoying. Oh, and also a pedophile. Also there's no story. Watching this is basically waiting two hours for the bastard to die, which seems to be the only thing that could end our mutual suffering. A great performance from Bogarde and the music from Mahler saves it from a complete disaster.
Rated 15 Jun 2007
3
38th
This is not easy to adapt, but I couldn't imagine anyone doing a more competent job than Visconti does here. The novel is very internalized, so to overcome that hurdle, Visconti switched Gustav's art from writing to composition, since music is more externalized, and adds a few conversations that help to communicate the novel's themes. It all works very nicely. This is excellent in other regards as well; Visconti's eye for period detail is unsurpassed, and this is a gorgeously shot film.
Rated 07 Jun 2020
60
35th
Hard to get past the obvious storyline of an older man following a teenage boy throughout Venice. Along the way, there's some great background shots and symphonic music to show his struggle with having found beauty in an unexpected place.
Rated 06 Jul 2014
70
57th
On a symbolic level, it's masterful: an artist (a brilliant Bogarde) torn between stillborn balance and sinful beauty ultimately fades uncherished and frustrated. Visconti, however, seems to be undecided himself: he alternates alienating pomposity with more passionate and subversive filmmaking -as a result, the film becomes immersed in Gustave's perspective and drags. Ultimately, it's fitting that its merits are mostly cerebral but one is left thirsty for more hot-blooded storytelling.
Rated 26 Mar 2008
88
96th
This adaptation of a novella is exemplary in that it doesn't pretend to be a carbon copy of the book. It's a Visconti, not a Mann. Not only does Visconti replace the writer protagonist with a composer based on Europe-period Mahler (whose music adorns the soundtrack), but the film is so very cinematic, a gripping audio-visual experience in adagio tempo. Despite the sparsity of the dialog, the film is full of ambiguous meaning; psychological, social, historical, philosophical and otherwise.
Rated 09 May 2008
66
28th
There are no particular flaws nagging at me, I could even make a case for its greatness. But I didn't connect with it on any level and the whole thing just kind of washed over me. The only thing I wanted to note was that there seemed to be an inordinate amount of zooming going on. Otherwise, I've got nothing much to say. It was poignant and well-executed, and the theme of an artist failing to acheive beauty was a little bit interesting, but I also have to say I was kinda bored most of the time.
Rated 28 Dec 2018
70
49th
Absolutely gorgeous film. The parts I saw when I wasn't nodding off, anyway.
Rated 09 Sep 2012
15
4th
Here, in the course of one film, you can measure the shift from one man intent on making a masterpiece to something like a monstrous parody created by the Monty Python boys. So be careful when you set out with a masterpiece in mind. You need only go back to Visconti's Senso, done in Venice in 1954, to see the loss of emotional reality and the sacrifice of storytelling to lassitudinous self-regard. Death in Venice is a very bad film.
Rated 06 Jul 2021
45
16th
A film less than the sum of its striking parts. Beautiful cinematography, an excellent performance by Bogarde, stunning set and costume design, stirring music, at the service of what exactly? Visconti both relies too much on knowledge of the source material while also deviating enough from it as to render the adaptation nearly indecipherable. All this sensuousness must serve something. There must be balance. That was one of Mann's points. This point was missed by an overindulgent Visconti here.
Rated 15 Aug 2010
80
58th
Visconti's films are always a visual joy, and this is no exception. Not as lush as The Leopard, DiV offers a grittier, claustrophobic vision of Venice that never fails to engage the eye. That said, the film's beauty remains distant and cool, akin to the role of a quiet observer rather than a participant in the action. I suspect that was exactly what Visconti was going for, but the approach, in turn, leaves me a bit distant toward the film in the final analysis.
Rated 03 Jul 2017
79
74th
The middle of this was pretty boring but that end scene is something else. Much better than the other Visconti I've seen.
Rated 27 Nov 2013
85
90th
Making Aschenbach into 'Mahler' was such a bloody cinematically genius decision that I almost jizzed in my seat.
Rated 16 Oct 2017
40
39th
I love the struggle between beauty and decay (Venice being the perfect setting) and the discomfort of gazing far too much at Tadzio through Aschenbach's eyes but otherwise this is a dull movie.
Rated 26 May 2018
85
90th
Mann'ın romanındaki atmosferi ve o tuhaf karakteri imgelemdeki kadar güçlü yansıtmış Visconti. Her yönüyle bir sanat eseri ortaya çıkmış.
Rated 15 Feb 2019
30
63rd
sometimes things that are beautiful.. are worse
Rated 16 May 2019
55
44th
I should make a t-shirt that says "I survived Death in Venice"
Rated 04 Aug 2021
83
68th
Despite being almost surreal in its creepiness throughout the duration, I found this rather intoxicating. One of the best music videos I’ve ever seen.
Rated 01 Nov 2021
75
45th
Presented an aether of seduction and sexual desire in a way that possibly had never been seen in cinema and will never be seen again: melancholic, extremely discreet, hopelessly enticed.
Rated 24 Mar 2022
6
43rd
A little too wish washy for my taste -none of the characters in it are endearing or even interesting and it seems to hold no relevance for today.
Rated 03 Jun 2022
19
9th
Possibly the most self-absorbed, narcissistic film ever made.
Rated 30 Jun 2022
75
57th
Oddly absorbing. This is a great example of a film where there's really not much to work with story or script-wise, but the right combination of pieces manages to elevate a film that should by all means be bad to a very good one on the strength of perfect direction and a powerhouse performance by Bogarde as a sexually (and otherwise) repressed composer who becomes fixated on the beauty of a teenage boy who is vacationing at the same time as him in Venice. Unique and divisive, but it drew me in.
Rated 03 Jan 2024
85
84th
A peculiar yet profound and haunting companion to the novella. Visconti transposes Mann's philosophical musings for long, atmospheric silences, endless gazing that underscores the purgatorial nature of the situation. By removing the interiority of the novel we are left with the sheer absurdity of profane desire in the physical. Not sure I've ever seen a director capture oppressive heat, disease, suffocation in the way that Visconti did -- a beautiful psychological nightmare.
Rated 13 Jun 2024
90
68th
Visconti at his most decadent and indulgent. The Mahler score could not swoon harder, the interiors could not be more lavish, the camera could not pan and zoom any more languorously. The drama is slowed down to a crawl.
Rated 17 Mar 2017
55
20th
beautiful but not for me ! It's just matter of taste.
Rated 30 Nov 2014
78
89th
(rewatched on 23/03/19): On death and desire. Visconti does a great job of isolating the 'protagonist' within the crumbling city of Venice, whose weathered facade mirrors his internal distintegration. We sense the melancholy weariness of his plight, combined with the ambiguity of his desire, all effectively communicated by Bogarde. It could have been tightened in the editing room, but it has a lyrical resonance that lingers long after the credits roll, and the use of Mahler is brilliant.
Rated 20 Nov 2014
6
83rd
the third visconti costume drama i've seen, and easily the best. contemplate is the word of the day. the camera slowly zooms and pans across its subjects with meticulous deliberateness, listening to the incessant background chatter in a way remniscent of altman. gustave is equally as abstracted, observant yet deep in thought. the text is rich with art, psychology and a venetian milieu, but the obvious point of contention is a strong pull of homosexual desire. i wonder if NAMBLA likes this movie.
Rated 03 Jan 2007
100
99th
Estreava há 50 anos no Festival de Cannes. Meu primeiro Visconti da vida, assistido nas madrugadas da Globo nos anos 90 e foi paixão instantânea, inclusive é um dos raros casos que acontecem que tanto o livro do Mann e filme baseado nele são ambas obras-primas absolutas. 50 anos depois o modo como o filme lida metaforicamente o morrer pela arte, o gozo do ápice estético e sua lenta deterioração posterior, é ainda um dos momentos mais pujantes do cinema Blu-ray Versátil Essencial Vis
Rated 18 Oct 2012
94
95th
Lovely.
Rated 30 Nov 2011
91
82nd
#190
Rated 30 Aug 2010
6
95th
Heartsick and masterful. I do concur with an annoyance in Visconti's love of the zoom, and (much less so) a few slightly tiresome sequences.
Rated 13 Jan 2010
91
82nd
187
Rated 30 Dec 2009
87
79th
_Boring? _Yes, at times. _Homossexual, pedo? _Maybe. _Beautiful??? _Certainly! The human neverending pursuit of "The beauty". Outstanding.
Rated 09 Dec 2009
92
93rd
Beautiful, melancholic film.
Rated 17 Mar 2009
83
82nd
Mann's slow-moving classic is splendidly brought to the big screen. Music by Gustav Mahler (whom Bogarde is made up to resemble).
Rated 19 Dec 2008
91
82nd
184
Rated 13 Mar 2008
85
81st
A slow moving period piece, at times it feels like it isn't going anywhere. What it lacks in story it makes up for with an incredible emotional performance by Bogarde who makes us sympathize with a character who could easily be unlikeable. Visconti's beautiful work with the camera helps in this regard as well, using zooms and pans to draw us into the situation and giving us wonderful scenery to look at.
Rated 01 Mar 2008
90
84th
# 207
Rated 08 Nov 2007
78
65th
It's very rare to find a film where the picture serves the soundtrack, and not vice versa, but here that's the case, and with Mahler's gorgeous symphonies it's quite appropriate. It's only too bad the script is so weak and it loses some of the emotional punch because there's no real story to be connected to. Still, Dirk Bogarde's strong performance makes up partly for it and he makes us sympathize even with a character we barely know. Sure, it's a limited film, but sort of a flawed masterpiece.
Rated 17 Feb 2007
60
62nd
Disturbing film.

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