January 14, 2011 at 10:17pm



Screening at the Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 7:30 PM

Italian cinema is rich with romantic and heroic stories set against dramatic moments in Italy's history. Visconti's epic The Leopard (Il Gattopardo), the Italian Gone with the Wind, incorporates rich motifs from the time of the Risorgimento, the struggle to unite Italy.


Until 1861, when King Victor Emmanuel II of House of Savoy proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy, Italy was divided into six major States and several minor ones, most of them under Hapsburg or Bourbon rule. Not until Pope Pius IX lost his temporal authority over Rome in 1870 was the peninsula finally united under one Government, a Constitutional Monarchy led by the Savoy. This process, known as the Risorgimento or resurgence, began after the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815).


In this classic film Visconti, as he frequently does, follows cultural change and upheaval through the study of an individual or family. The story, based upon the novel of the same name by Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa, takes place in Sicily at the end of the Bourbon era and presents the Risorgimento through the eyes of Don Fabrizio, the Prince of Salina, a landed aristocrat played magnificently by Burt Lancaster. This aristocracy is a remnant of the feudal system and must choose between supporting the Bourbons or the emerging middle class. 


The film covers the period that goes from May 1860, when Giuseppe Garibaldi, one of the protagonists of the Risorgimento, landed at Marsala (May 11, 1860) with his army of about a thousand volunteers, I Mille (the Thousand) or the Redshirts, until November 1862. The movie indeed ends with the execution of a number of those who had joined Garibaldi to bring the revolution to Rome, still controlled by the Church.


In 2011 Italy celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Italian unification and the birth of Italy as one Nation.

This important anniversary, together with the long-lasting friendship between Italians and Americans, is also going to be honored throughout of the United States with a series of events coordinated by the Italian Embassy in Washington DC. To read more about the ITALY@150 initiative and explore the ever-growing calendar of events, please refer to the website of the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC at: 

To find out more about these celebrations in Los Angeles, organized by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura/Italian Government Cultural Office under the auspices of the Italian Consulate General, please visit the IIC’s website at 


For screening details see:


Scene from IL GATTOPARDO (The Leopard)Scene from IL GATTOPARDO (The Leopard)