Death in Venice

When I think of ‘Death in Venice‘ I think of the Lido and Thomas Mann’s novella of the same name. I think of the haunting film by Luchino Visconti and I think of Dirk Bogarde playing the once famous musician and composer who can no longer write music……………..

I can see Bogarde now, slumped in a stripped deck chair on the Lido Beach, in front of the elegant and majestic Hotel des Bains. He’s wearing a light coloured linen suit, shirt and tie and a panama hat.

A black rivulet of hair dye runs down his temple. It meanders like a tear from hairline to cheek. A single tear representing a mountain of emotion. The droplet proceeds delicately, reluctantly over the ageing gentleman’s skin, down towards his fleshy cheek.

The gentleman gazes out to sea, although it is impossible to tell where his focus rests. Perhaps he is viewing the distant horizon, or even the liminal space where land meets sea. A transition between solid and liquid, real and imagined.

He rests calmly on the threshold between terrestrial and celestial. Children shout in the distance, a glimmer of recognition. Then he sinks deeper, deeper, into the canvas, his eyes shutting gently. He is sleeping now, deeper and deeper.

The sounds are fainter, hardly discernible, there is a lightness of breath..

There’s peace now, no more empty drums. A wave breaks gently and wanders distractedly up the beach…………

Dirk Bogarde starred in 'Death in Venice' 1971 film by Visconti, filmed in Venice and on the Lido
Dirk Bogarde starred in ‘Death in Venice’ 1971 film by Visconti, filmed in Venice and on the Lido
Death in Venice - vintage poster (1971) to promote the film
Death in Venice – vintage poster (1971) to promote the film

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