In late-19th century Italy, Tullio, an insatiable aristocrat, grows bored with his wife Giuliana and neglects her for his more exciting mistress, the wealthy widow Countess Teresa Raffo. After learning that Giuliana is having an affair of her own, he becomes tormented and descends into madness.
The final film by Luchino Visconti (La terra trema, The Leopard) offers a welcome return to the resplendent period dramas that followed his neorealist period. Visconti was an aristocrat with Marxist tendencies, and L’innocente is a sublime critique of the immoral excesses of the upper classes.
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