William Aitken: "Last Impossible Loves: Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice"
Last Impossible Loves: Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice
The conventional view of Visconti’s Death in Venice is that it, as well as Mann’s novella, is a narrative of queer abjection – an ageing homosexual perishes because of his illicit desires. This reading, however accurate it is in terms of the book, does serious injustice to Visconti’s film, which sees Aschenbach’s desire as ultimately redemptive, while also examining – by pairing Aschenbach with Tadzio’s mother - how such desire lies at the heart of, and is perhaps essential to the nuclear family.
A close reading of several scenes from the film will further illustrate this contention.
Will Aitken's novels include the recently published My Life Burning in the Moonlight, Realia, A Visit Home and Terre Haute. His work has appeared in Paris Review, Threepenny Review, Globe & Mail, National Post, Brick Magazine, MacLean's and enRoute.
His non-fiction book, Luchino Visconti: «Death in Venice», an analysis of the Italian director's controversial film masterpiece, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in November, 2011.
A writer-broadcaster in radio and television. Aitken has worked as a film and visual arts critic for the CBC, the BBC and NPR.
In collaboration with poet Anne Carson he directed Decreation, her spoken-word opera, in London, Berlin, and Montreal. Aitken also wrote the screenplay for the feature film, Rowing Through (Shochiku Studio, Tokyo). A MacLean-Hunter Fellow in Arts Journalism, Aitken has acted as guest curator at the Harvard Film Archive. He teaches cinema at Dawson College.
Sponsored by the Departments of German and Comparative Literature and the Cohn Fund in the Department of Screen Arts and Cultures.