Death in Venice, directed by Luchino Visconti and starring Dirk Bogarde, is based on the Thomas Mann novella of the same name. A Gustave Mahler like character, named Gustave, goes to Venice for a rest. There he becomes infatuated with a teenaged boy who for him personifies his very idea of purity and beauty. The movie deals with the themes of death, beauty, decay, youth, old age, art, and oddly enough the plague.
Slow moving but exquisitely beautiful to watch. Some say Venice has never been so beautifully photographed. The score by Gustave Mahler is divine and is in perfect combination with the majestic beauty unfolding on the screen. There are long stretches with no dialogue, only visuals and music. A true classic of the cinema.
Available on the Criterion Channel or Amazon Prime.
When I was a young man, much younger than I am today, I dated a girl by the name of Kimberly. She was much younger than I was and quite beautiful. She was of Italian decent and had that kind of classical beauty that you only find on the walls of museums in New York City. Pictures that were painted during the Italian Renaissance.
Kimberly left me with some permanent damage and I have the scar tissue to prove it.
On the weekends she would invite me over to her place to spend the night. After an all-night bacchanal we slept late the next morning. Upon arising we ventured into the kitchen in search of some victuals to break our fast. I found some frozen bagels in the freezer and proceeded to prepare them for eating.
I selected the sharpest knife in the drawer and stood the cold bagel on edge in order to cut it in half so that it would fit snugly into the toaster. I grasped the bagel in one hand to steady it and the knife in my other hand and bore down on the knife to make an impression on the bagel.
The bagel wasn’t having it. As I applied pressure to the knife against the upright edge of the bagel, the bagel slipped sideways and the knife plunged into the side of my left index finger cutting rather deeply and immediately producing a spurt of bright red blood.
“Oh, I think we better get you to the hospital”, Kimberly said.
So off we went to the ER.
Luckily, this was a small town in Indiana and the emergency room was not crowded. They took me right away. First they soaked my finger in betadine solution for half an hour and then the attending physician come in and took a look.
I explained about the knife and the bagel and left out the part about the all night bacchanal.
A wide smile spread across the doctor’s face as he began to sew sutures into my ruptured finger and closing the wound.
“Oh, we have been seeing quite a lot of this lately. We even have a name for it. We call it, ‘Yuppie Syndrome.’”
He sewed five stitches into my finger and I still have the scar.
It wasn’t long after that that Kimberly and I broke up. It seems she didn’t want to be tied down to an exclusive relationship with an older guy. I couldn’t blame her. But, she did break my heart. And I have the scar tissue to prove that too.