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Gruppo di Famiglia in un Interno (Conversation Piece)

5 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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(Mar 13, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A U.S. professor in Rome rents apartments to a decadent countess, her family and her lover.


Lancaster is superb .Superb also goes for Raro Video's standard definition 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation, which masterfully brings out the richness of the film's optic beauty; a considerable feat! Bonus features are a treat CineGeek heaven! --DVD Verdict

Highly Recommended. Conversation Piece, Luchino Visconti's penultimate movie, is a quiet, yet surprisingly warm, portrait of an unforeseen meeting of the generations…A complicated drama,Conversation Piece has plenty to say about cultural change, age, and human connections. It's a grand work from a master cinematic storyteller, an old film that has received new life via a very modern technology. --DVD Talk

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Burt Lancaster, Helmet Berger
  • Directors: Luchino Visconti
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,641 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Luchino Visconti is one of the best known Italian directors in the United States, together with Bernardo Bertolucci, Vittorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, and few others. He is known for being one of the fathers of the so-called Italian neo-realism film movement from the 40s and 50s, and it is best remembered, for example, by such movies as "The Leopard" (1963) and "Death in Venice" (1971). The exquisite and penetrating "Conversation Piece" (aka "Gruppo Di Famiglia in un Interno") was Visconti's penultimate film before his death, and it is a treat to have it now available in DVD and Blu-ray. And what a delight it is!

"Conversation Piece" is the type of film that I most respect, as it was filmed inside limited interior sets, without any distraction, and with a smart story and dialogue. It stars frequent Visconti collaborator Burt Lancaster (loved by Italian directors) as Il Professore, an aging and retired American professor that lives by himself in a magnificent villa in Rome. His only company is Herminia (Elvira Cortese), his maid, and a few of Herminia's assistants. He truly values his solitude and enjoys collecting art and reading. However, all that changes when he is approached by Bianca Brumonti (the delightful Silvana Mangano), a rich aristocrat who wants to rent an apartment from Il Professore, in order that her younger lover, Konrad Huebel (Helmet Berger), could live in it. He informs her that he is not interested in renting that apartment, because he uses it to store his stuff. Mrs. Brumonti doesn't take no for an answer and basically forces herself into the property. We learn that Il Professore was right in not renting the apartment, as Mrs.
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Format: DVD
For Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti, although his oeuvre may not be as lengthy compared to Roberto Rossellini or Federico Fellini, he is among the few that have crew created films that not only were beloved in his country, but have remained cinema classics worldwide.

Visconti was also involved with filmmakers Rossellini, Fellini, Puccini, Pietrangeli and De Santis in collaboration in creating the first Italian neorealist movie "Obsession" in 1943. Breaking away from neorealism in the '50s, Visconti pursued realism and romanticism and set his own path of creating films that were personal.

Well-known for directing theatre and opera but for cinema, he is best known for creating masterpiece after masterpiece such as "The Leopard" (1963), "Sandra" (1965), "The Damned" (1969), "Death in Venice" (1971), and for many, his films such as "La terra trema", "Bellissima", "Senso", "Le notte bianche", "Rocco and His Brothers" and "The Stranger" would also rank high on the list for many cineaste.

But one film would also rank high among cineaste, some may consider it another masterpiece and that was his 1974 film "Gruppo Di Famiglia In Un Interno", also known as "Conversation Piece". Winner for "Best Film" at the David di Donatello Awards", "Blue Ribbon Awards", "Fotogramas de Plata", "Kinema Junpo Awards" and the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists", the film would receive recognition worldwide.

But also, the film would be known as Visconti's "Last Will & Testament". In an interview with actor Burt Lancaster, Lancaster said that Visconti told Lancaster that the character he was playing was him. Lancaster said, "I knew that the old man I was playing was him. He told me another time, `This is my life. I am very much alone. I never knew how to love.
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Format: DVD
In 1974 (two years before his death), legendary Italian director Luchino Visconti revisited a number of his most familiar narrative themes for the fascinating, if not wholly successful, "Conversation Piece." I'm almost ashamed to admit that as a long time admirer of Visconti (not to mention Burt Lancaster), I had never seen this movie until its current DVD incarnation. Reuniting Lancaster and Visconti certainly recalled their earlier pairing on the sublime "The Leopard," and I couldn't help comparing the films to some degree. Visconti, from his earliest neo-realist classics to his late period masterpieces, always had the power to provoke. A master of shot composition, as opposed to staging action, his filmmaking style always made me feel like somewhat of a voyeur intruding on his character's most intimate (or even mundane) moments. This fly-on-the-wall appeal is abundant in "Conversation Piece," a chilling and enigmatic chamber piece of a film that utilizes its claustrophobic environment to great affect. And while I didn't always believe the character interactions within this film, I was absolutely mesmerized by the undercurrent of emotions that lay just underneath the surface of all of the performances.

Lancaster plays an aging academic content to finish his days alone with his art, books, and music. One day a strange and intrusive woman (Silvana Mangano) insists on renting an upstairs apartment in his palazzo. Despite his insistence that it isn't for rent, he is soon meeting her grown children and an aloof family friend (Helmut Berger) and succumbing to their insistent charms. These early moments are played with such chaos and exaggeration, it's hard to identify with Lancaster's acquiescence as he is all but bulldozed in every scene.
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Gruppo di Famiglia in un Interno (Conversation Piece)
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