Death in Venice (1971)
Another night, another film. For the first time since moving to electronic ticket booking and payment we noticed an intermittent internet connection. Pleasingly, the backup plan of hotspotting off a phone worked well.
We were pleased to see the most valuable discussion group grow to closer to pre-Covid proportions. The technical quality of the Zoom call left something to be desired and this will be rectified before next time. The scribe of the discussion group wrote:
A successful post film discussion with three people joining the group of us in the Hall by Zoom. The new improved sound worked. We were led by Amanda-Jane, a real enthusiast for Death in Venice.
Our themes included how well the film reflected Thomas Mann’s 1912 novella. We talked about the symbols, such as the journey to the afterlife, which were also reflected in some of Tadzio’s gestures. Even a glass of pomegranate juice was a symbol for death and the early gondola scene alluded to the river Styx.
We talked about the theme of creativity, perfection and beauty.
There was a concern that the portrayal of Tadzio was very uncomfortable and sexualised. The film-maker had made him appear too knowing. A member of the group spoke strongly about the “‘sexualisation of children masquerading as creativity.”
It was difficult to work what was reality and what was Aschenbach’s fantasy. The film was all about his character, played so strongly by Dirk Bogarde and everyone else felt like stereotypes.
We felt the sound wasn’t very good and the Blu-Ray version was recommended. We were pleased to see one of the Zoom participants’ pictures of Thomas Mann’s grave, which he had visited.
We certainly felt we could have gone on talking all night.