I Classici del Cinema – Viale del Tramonto


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Il più famoso incipit della storia del Cinema introduce da subito il clima inquietante di questo capolavoro di Billy Wilder: un cadavere galleggia nella piscina di una villa hollywoodiana, mentre la polizia e i giornalisti si precipitano sul luogo del delitto. La voce fuori campo è quella dello stesso protagonista, un William Holden perfetto, il quale ripercorre le vicende che hanno portato al suo stesso omicidio. Joe Gillis è un giovane sceneggiatore al verde che capita nella vecchia e decadente villa di una star del muto. Norma Desmond [Gloria Swanson], ormai dimenticata da tutti, vive soltanto dei ricordi di quando era una grande diva. Insieme a lei il suo fedele maggiordomo Max [Eric Von Stroheim], che si rivelerà essere anche uno dei suoi antichi registi ed il primo marito. Joe acconsente a scrivere per Norma la sceneggiatura per un nuovo film, che lei – incapace di accettare di esser stata messa da parte – immagina come la sua grande rentrée. La donna finisce per innamorarsi del giovane, che – accecato dalla sua ricchezza – ne diventa il mantenuto, l’amante ed infine la vittima.

La voce off in Viale del Tramonto [1950] è ben più che un sorprendente espediente narrativo: è soprattutto una “voce-fantasma”, come fantasmi sono la villa, i suoi abitanti e il film che stanno preparando. La pellicola vive fin da subito di un’atmosfera macabra, che Wilder – ben supportato in questo da Stroheim – sottolinea in ogni passaggio e che la colloca all’incrocio fra il noir e il gotico. E’ proprio di Stroheim l’idea di far scrivere all’ex marito della diva finte lettere di ammiratori, per lasciarle l’illusione d’essere ancora amata. Addirittura l’attore regista viennese suggerisce di girare una sequenza in cui lo si veda lavare la biancheria di lei – le mutandine – per rimarcare un rapporto di totale asservimento. Ma Wilder rifiuta la proposta: «Avevamo già abbastanza noie con la censura»Viale del Tramonto mescola in modo angosciante realtà e finzione. La Swanson era davvero un’attrice ormai caduta nell’oblio e Von Stroheim l’aveva realmente diretta nel film che lei fa proiettare nella villa. Tutto quanto riguarda lo specifico cinematografico: i discorsi di sceneggiature, la vita degli studios, persino il mitico cancello d’ingresso della Paramount. La protagonista vive prigioniera del proprio passato e di una folle nostalgia per il cinema muto: «Io sono ancora grande, è il cinema che è diventato piccolo». Questi aspetti rendono il film di Wilder una denuncia impietosa dei meccanismi dello star system e il ritratto più oscuro e cinico della realtà hollywoodiana. Per tale motivo la sua uscita avvenne fra le polemiche. Louis B. Mayer accusò apertamente il regista: «Hai disonorato l’industria che ti ha dato da mangiare, dovresti essere incatramato, ricoperto di piume e sbattuto via da Hollywood».

Questo post è catalogato in 50, cinema, classici, wilder billy. Vai al permalink.

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