The first film I ever saw was Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard. Growing up in Africa, we never went to the movies, but just before we left for the Netherlands, we went to see this film. Aaah—it was fantastic! Suddenly, a sense of beauty opened up for me. It was so far from the world we knew, where all the houses were quite empty—just cushions with low tables. On the screen there were crinolines, chandeliers, and wonderful dresses blowing in the wind. Such decadence.
I also like the nobility in Visconti’s films—the way his characters do not need to speak, because you can see what they are thinking by the way they look. There is a discretion in his movies—the dignity of people living in a society where you could not allow yourself to do whatever you wanted. So different from today.