Longing (1954)

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German title nostalgia
Original title Senso
Country of production Italy
original language Italian
Publishing year 1954
length 117 minutes
Age rating FSK 12 (until 2009 previously FSK from 18)
Director Luchino Visconti
script Luchino Visconti
Suso Cecchi D'Amico
Carlo Alianello
Giorgio Bassani
Giorgio Prosperi
production Domenico Forges Davanzati
music Anton Bruckner from the 7th symphony arranged by Nino Rota
Giuseppe Verdi Il trovatore
4th act
camera Aldo Graziati
Robert Krasker
cut Mario Serandrei

Sehnsucht is a film by Luchino Visconti based on the novel Senso. The secret diary of Contessa Livia (original title: Senso ) by Camillo Boito . The film takes place in 1866 during the Risorgimentos (Italian civil war).


The action takes place in Venice , which was occupied by the Austrians , shortly before the outbreak of the third Italian war of independence . The Contessa Livia Serpieri which has entered into a passionless marriage with an elderly aristocrat who watched as her cousin Marchese Roberto Ussoni defended and other fighters for the independence of Venice during a performance of Il trovatore at the Teatro La Fenice rebel against the present Austrian officers. Roberto challenges the officer Franz Mahler to a duel , which Livia wants to prevent, which is why she asks the charming Mahler to refuse the invitation to duel. There is never a duel anyway, as Roberto is arrested and banished from Verona - Franz is responsible for that, which Livia wants to overlook in her falling in love with the Austrian officer.

Livia falls in love with Franz and they roam Venice at night. From now on they meet secretly in a pension. Livia falls for her much younger lover, although he has the rather dubious reputation of a seducer and gambler. When Franz does not show up one day for their meeting, Livia becomes painfully aware that she is being betrayed.

When the war broke out, the Serpieris withdrew to their estate in Aldeno near Trento . Roberto, meanwhile in the middle of the struggle of the Italian nationalists , asks Livia to smuggle the money collected by the underground fighters, which is of enormous importance for the upcoming battle of Custozza , out of Venice. Meanwhile, Franz fled to Livia's estate at night. She initially rejects him, but eventually falls for him again and he asks her to prevent him from fighting. In the end, Livia leaves him the rebel money to bribe the military doctors and thus avoid military service . With this act she betrays not only her political ideals, but also her beloved cousin.

When Livia travels to Verona out of concern for Franz, who hardly ever answers, she finds him neglected with a young prostitute. Drunk as he is, he humiliates the devastated Livia, declares that she disgusts him, and finally admits to having denounced Roberto . In order to get revenge for this disgrace, Livia denounces Franz as a deserter to an Austrian commandant, who finds Livia's behavior outrageous, but nevertheless arranges for Franz to be shot that same night. In the end, Livia wanders madly through the empty streets of Verona and desperately calls Franz's name.


Alida Valli and Farley Granger

Camillo Boito's novel Senso was published in Milan in 1883. The novel is written as a fictional diary from the Countess's perspective, which is one of the reasons why many parts of the novel were changed for the film adaptation and new characters such as those of the rebellious cousin Roberto were introduced. Compared to the novel, Visconti's film depicts the war events with the battles more explicitly, while the novel is more firmly anchored in the countess's private life.

Riccardo Gualino (1879–1964), a well-known industrialist and art patron from Turin , who provided the majority of the film budget, had the idea for the film adaptation . Gualino had long had the idea of ​​having Visconti make some kind of film that should be “spectacular, but of a high artistic level”. Before filming began, historical research was carried out over a year under the direction of the writer and Risorgimento expert Carlo Alianello , so that the script was as authentic as possible. Among other things, it was investigated for the battle scene at which points the Austrian and Italian troops stood at the battle of Custozza in 1866 .

It was Visconti's first color film that was shot on 36 mm in Technicolor . For Visconti, who, as a representative of Italian neorealism , had previously staged black and white films that were set in the presence of the working class, Senso marked a change in style and a turning point in his career. During the shooting, the cameraman GR Aldo died in a car accident, so that Robert Krasker had to take over.

Franco Zeffirelli and Francesco Rosi , who later became famous directors themselves, acted as Visconti's assistant directors .

The original version of the film was 126 minutes, but the original length was shortened by the distributor at the request of the Italian censors. Battle scenes, political remarks by Countess Livia and the execution of Mahler at the end of the film were cut. The German version was shortened even further so that it was around twenty minutes short of the original. A reconstructed version was only performed in Germany in 1993.


The first German dubbed version was created in Berlin in 1955; Konrad P. Rohnstein was responsible for the dialogue script and dialogue direction. Curt Ackermann spoke for Farley Granger as Franz Mahler, while Eleonore Noelle Alida Valli lent her voice as Countess Livia. In 1993 the second German dubbed version of Sehnsucht for television was made, in which Dagmar Heller speaks the Countess Livia.


"The great historical cinema tragedy of neorealism, which with its compositions of images of extraordinary beauty also paints a portrait of a declining era."

"Visconti's staging succeeds in creating images of operatic beauty, which, however, never gloss over anything, as especially the battle scenes show, in which there is no idealistic heroism, but only death."

- Krischan Koch, Die Zeit


The film was represented in the competition at the Venice Film Festival in 1954 , where it was defeated by Renato Castellani's Romeo and Juliet . Cinematographer Aldo Graziati (1902–1953) was posthumously awarded the Sindacato Nazionale Giornalisti Cinematografici Italiani prize a year later , while the film and leading actress Alida Valli were awarded the French Étoile de Cristal in 1956 .


  • Camillo Boito : Senso. The secret diary of Contessa Livia (original title: Senso ). German by Bettina Kienlechner. With an afterword by Peter Mohr . Reinbek near Hamburg: Rowohlt 1987. ISBN 3-499-12170-0
  • Anke Wortmann: Melodrama and Politics. A reading of Visconti's Film Senso with students of Romance studies , in: Film in foreign language lessons. Literary material, intercultural goals, media impact. Edited by Eva Leitzke-Ungerer. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag 2009. pp. 153-167. ISBN 978-3-89821-925-9

Web links

Commons : Senso  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Release certificate for longing . Voluntary self-regulation of the film industry , June 2009 (PDF; test number: 10 394 V / DVD / UMD).
  2. Laurence Schifano: Luchino Visconti. Prince of the film. Gernsbach, Katz 1988, p. 310.
  3. Kay Less : The film's great personal dictionary . The actors, directors, cameramen, producers, composers, screenwriters, film architects, outfitters, costume designers, editors, sound engineers, make-up artists and special effects designers of the 20th century. Volume 1: A - C. Erik Aaes - Jack Carson. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89602-340-3 , p. 81.
  4. F.-B. Habel: Cut up films. Censorship in the film . Gustav Kiepenheuer Verlag, Leipzig 2003, ISBN 3-37801069-X , p. 96
  5. Film title Casts Film Cast list Movie Cast Characters - synchrondatenbank.de. Retrieved July 11, 2019 .
  6. German synchronous index | Movies | Nostalgia. Retrieved July 11, 2019 .
  7. Longing. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  8. Krischan Koch: Worth seeing . In: The time . No. 8/1984 , February 17, 1984, Im Kino, p. 43 .