- LULU / PANDORA'S BOX
- DAPHNIS AND CHLOE
- FEDRA
- THE FUGITIVE KIND
- THE TESTAMENT OF ORPHEUS
- PHAEDRA
- HERCULES CONQUERS ATLANTIS
- YOUNG APHRODITES
- CONTEMPT
- PROMETHEUS FROM THE VISEVICE ISLAND
- SANDRA OF A THOUSAND DELIGHTS
- THE GOLDEN THING
- THE TRAVELLING PLAYERS
- EURIDICE BA 2037
- IPHIGENIA
- A DREAM OF PASSION
- CLASH OF THE TITANS
- THE YEARS OF THE BIG HEAT
- ENIOCHUS - THE CHARIOTEER
- ANTIGONE
- EDIPO ALCADE
- THAT'S LIFE
- BLADE RUNNER
- VERTIGO
- MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA
- ORPHEUS
- PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
- ULYSSES
- HERACLES AND THE QUEEN OF LYDIA
- BLACK ORPHEUS
- ANTIGONE
- ELECTRA
- JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS
- ‘«Ň GORGON
- OEDIPUS REX
- ‘«Ň ILLIAC PASSION
- THE CANNIBALS
- ŐEDEA
- NOTES FOR AN AFRICAN ORESTEIA
- FOR ELECTRA
- PROMETHEUS IN THE SECOND PERSON
- VOYAGE TO CYTHERA
- ULYSSES' GAZE
- ‘«Ň MATRIX
- O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?

SANDRA OF A THOUSAND DELIGHTS
VAGHE STELLE DELL’ORSA...
Italy, 1965


Director: Luchino Visconti. Screenplay: Luchino Visconti, Suso Cecchi d’Amico, Enrico Madioli. Director of Photography: Armando Nannuzzi. Production designer: Mario Garbuglia. Costume designer: Bice Brichetto. Music: César Franck. Film editor: Mario Serandrei. Cast: Claudia Cardinale (Sandra), Jean Sorel (Gianni), Michael Craig (Andrew), Marie Bell (mother), Renzo Ricci (Gilardini), Fred Williams (Pietro), Amalia Troiani (Fosca). Production: Franco Cristaldi for Vides Cinematografica. Duration: 100 minutes. Black and white. Golden Lion at the 1965 Venice Film Festival.

Sandra and her husband, Andrew, visit Volterra, Sandra’s birthplace, to attend a ceremony in her father’s honour; a Jew intellectual who died in a Nazi concentration camp. Sandra’s arrival upsets her brother, Gianni, and her mother, who is hospitalised in a psychiatric clinic. The two siblings always suspected that their mother and her second husband, Gilardini, caused their father’s exile. Andrew tries to reconcile Sandra and Gianni with Gilardini but the latter accuses the two siblings of incest. Gianni refuses to give any explanations, but later begs Sandra to stay with him instead of leaving with her husband who, tired of the situation, leaves Volterra. Sandra attends her father’s memorial unaware that, in the meanwhile, her brother has committed suicide.

This film is an unusual "police" film. It was called Modern Electra but, in order to explain the term "police film", I will refer to another tragedy: Oedipus Rex, one of the first police films. In Oedipus Rex, the culprit is the least suspect (Oedipus who, at the beginning of the story, calls himself "the only stranger".)
Perhaps the ancient audience would leave the theatre convinced that the real culprit is not Oedipus but Fate; however, this convenient explanation is not sufficient for the contemporary audience. The audience dismisses the charges against Oedipus and makes him feel guilty only to the extent that the story affects him personally.
Therefore, in my film there are deaths and some possible culprits, however, nowhere are they indicated as the real culprits and the real victims. Hence, my reference to Oresteia is nothing more than a simple reference. Let’s consider Sandra and Gilardini, for instance: she seems like Electra due to the events determining her behaviour; he seems like Aegisthus, because of his place in the family. Yet, these analogies are just an outline. Sandra has the characteristics of a judge and Gilardini those of the defendant but, in fact, their roles could be reversed. The ambiguity consists in the genuine appearance of all heroes except for one: Andrew. Andrew would like a more reasonable explanation for everything, but he collides with a world ruled by the deepest, most contradictory and inexplicable passions. Andrew is the closest character to the audience’s conscience because it, too, fails to logically explain the events. Consequently, the audience may feel responsible for the events and wonder – not if Gilardini and the mother are responsible for the father’s death or if Sandra is responsible for Gianni’s death, but if there is a mistake and whether we all bear in us a Sandra, a Gianni and a Gilardini.
Hence, it is a "police story" where everything is clear at the beginning and vague towards the end – just like every time someone attempts to comprehend his/herself; at the beginning s/he is convinced there is nothing to discover, but, later, s/he faces the distressing problem of non-existence.
[…] All of my attention is focused on Sandra’s conscience, on her judgement, on the same theme that encouraged Doni, Livia, Rocco or Prince Di Salina. Although in other films I used a dance, a battle, domestic immigration or the procurement of daily bread. Now my motivation is the female personality, the superiority complex of the Jews, the ancient Etruscan enigma –Volterra is its perfect representation of this. These are the basic and, to a certain extent, the important "historical" elements that, together with the psychological ones: the demand for justice and truth, the emotionally and sexually unsatisfied heroine, the crisis of her marriage, the family tragedy: (dealt with in my other films as well). These determined the birth of my film.
Sandra’s conscience, motivated by the "event" (return to the family home), starts searching for the truth: a truth completely different to the one Sandra believed was ingrained in herself; a painful truth that a character like her might never manage to learn entirely.
Therefore, Sandra and her victims (or her persecutors) find their position in modern society or, rather, they discover that they no longer belong there and, through their own drama, help us to better comprehend the reality and the meaning of our historical condition.
If I am allowed to work again on a theme I loved at the beginning of my career, I would say that today, more than ever, I am interested in anthropocentric cinema. The film Sandra of a Thousand Delights is a verification – and not an exception – of this dominant interest. That’s why I made this film.

Luchino Visconti
Introduction to the publication of the screenplay, Capelli, 1965