The Leopard (Il gattopardo)

Martin Scorsese had a hand in restoring Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard (Il gattopardo), the film being seen today at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Marian Luntz, film curator for the museum, says a reported 12,000 hours of work were put in to remove 47 years of dirt and scratches from the print.

Following the life of a Sicilian count, beautifully played by Burt Lancaster, as he faces the inevitable changes the 1860s revolution brings to Italy, The Leopard has been called Italy’s Gone with the Wind. “People really see it that way,” says Luntz, “because there’s war, there’s gowns, there’s triumph of the human spirit. This year is a big year for Italy, they’re celebrating 150 years of Italian reunification. And this particular film addresses that particular time. It’s a personal and political story, with a cast of literally thousands.”

The Leopard, which also stars Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon, clocks in at almost three and a half hours, but Luntz says viewers will be so involved with the action on screen they won’t notice the time. “I think it’s going to be a sumptuous experience. It’s an immersive experience to see a film of this length. It’s truly going to be one of the most beautiful visual experiences that we’ve been able to offer in a while.” 6 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit $6 to $7.
Sat., March 5, 6 p.m.; Sun., March 6, 5 p.m., 2011

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Olivia Flores Alvarez