Obsession / Ossessione (1943)

5.0 out of 5

As a direct forerunner to neorealism many of the stylistic and thematic traits of that film wave are evident in this early and trailblazing adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Shot during the fascist era the film not only works as a time-capsule view of Italy but also presents, in the structure of a taut thriller, a challenge to what would have been the dominant ideological and theological mores of the time. Possibly an allegorical tale for the time the desire for freedom, in many senses of the word, comes through loud and clear.

A tramp on tramp bromance is suggested and moves to a bedroom where a suitcase of stockings and womens underwear spills upon the floor in a scene where the sexuality of the main protagonist is openly questioned with possible censor-defying allusions to the desire for the restoration gay and lesbian political and social rights in the face of an ultra-conservative reaction. The film was banned and the beak threw the book at director Luchino Visconti who here was helming his debut feature.

Ossessione is brilliant and an incredibly important film.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics