20 March 2010 | claudio_carvalho
Le Notti Bianche
In a cold night, the lonely ordinary man Mario (Marcello Mastroianni) is wandering along the empty streets of Livorno after spending the day with the family of his employer. While crossing a bridge, Mario sees a beautiful woman crying and he starts a conversation with her. The reluctant Natalia (Maria Schell) finally accepts his companion to walk her home and they schedule to meet each other on the next day at the same place at 10:00 PM. The romantic and naive Natalia tells Mario that she is Slav and lives with her grandmother. They survive repairing fancy carpets and renting a room in their house. When an unknown tenant (Jean Marais) rents the room, Natalia immediately falls in love with him. However, the man asks for one year apart to raise enough money to get married with her and promising to return and meet her on the bridge where Mario met her in the previous night. She gives a letter to Mario to deliver to the stranger but Mario throws it away in the canal. On the next night, Natalia meets Mario by chance and they spend the snowing night together, dancing, chatting and drinking, and Mario falls in love with her; but while walking back home, the couple sees a man alone on the bridge.
"Le Notti Bianche" is one of the most beautiful romances I have ever seen. The melancholic, utopist and timeless love story is a different film from the genius Luchino Visconti, based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and was shot in magnificent sets that rebuilt a non- faithful quarter of Livorno in the Cinecittá in the opposite direction of the Italian Neo-Realism. The chemistry between Marcello Mastroianni in one of his best roles and the gorgeous and sweet Maria Schell with her delightful smile in the role of a dreamer is amazing and one of the greatest attractions of this lovely film. The haunting cinematography in black and white is comparable to the German Expressionism with the use of lighting and shadows. Last but not the least, the unforgettable music score of Nino Rota completes this stunning and unknown masterpiece. The DVD released in Brazil by Versátil Dstributor has restored images and perfect sound that highlight the wonderful cinematography. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "Noites Brancas" ("White Nights")