One of Italy's best known directors, Luchino Visconti di Modrone or the Count of Lonate Pozzolo was born November 2, 1906. His family was one of the most wealthy families in Italy, and chose to direct theater, films in both the US and Italy, operas plus screenwriting as a career. Luchino was openly homosexual and often cast his lover Helmut Berger in his films.
Luchino debuted as an assistant director on the film Toni (1935) and Partie de champagne (1936). He also worked on La Tosca (1939) but had to stop production due to WWII. Luchino's first solo directing attempt was with Obsession in 1943 which was an adaption of the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice. He wrote and directed The Earth Trembles in 1948 and worked through the 1950s by filming Senso (1954) in color.
Luchino is best known for his neorealism or a film movement characterized by stories using non-professional actors and telling stories about the poor and working class. Neorealist films deal with difficult moral and economic condition of Italian post WWII including oppression, injustice, poverty and desperation. His 1960 films however were a little more personal. The Damned (1969) earned Luchino a nomination for an Academy Award for be screenplay.
Visonti directed theater and opera and his most acclaimed piece was Falstaff for the Vienna State Opera in 1966. He worked with Leonard Bernstein the orchestra director. His 1969 Boccanegra done with singers in geometrical costumes was highly controversial.
Luchino Visconti died on March 17, 1976 at the age of 69. In Rome, Italy. He achieved the Palm d'Or plus the Golden Lion (1965) for his achievement in directing and screenwriting.