This film by Visconti has been turned into a play which has been turned into a FILM. A complete “round robin” with a single set – no curtain – and an invisible audience reacting to certain laughable or detestable moments is what you get for one-and-three-quarter hours.

The mastermind of this dramatic circle is Ivo van Hove, the Dutch Director with a fine provenance of work and a desire for veritas. Les Miserables are Jude Law as Gino, the handsome young drifter, Halina Reijn at Hanna, the bored, then triumphant wife and Gijs Scholten van Aschat as her rather sadistic husband Joseph. The characters in this film make each other miserable in turn or all at once depending upon the circumstances. Suffering is the main theme, destruction the outcome but during that tenure… Does one actually want to BE there?

This was a real obsession in England when it was shown; we may have had a slightly different reaction to the film.

Barbara Tober

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