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Alain Delon gives one of the finest performances of his career in Valerio Zurlini’s La prima notte di quiete (Indian Summer), as we end this year’s To Save and Project on a high note with a weeklong theatrical run—the first ever in New York—of the unjustly overlooked filmmaker’s austere, tragic romance in its original, uncut Italian version. A failed poet, alienated from his wife (Léa Massari) and his demanding aristocratic family, Delon washes up in the seaside town of Rimini as a substitute high school teacher and seduces one of his students, the fragile and beautiful Sonia Petrovna. Zurlini was a director of uncommon intelligence and restraint, transforming the Rimini of Federico Fellini’s carnivalesque Amarcord into a purgatory of lost souls. The film’s title, possibly a Goethe verse that loosely translates as “Death, the first night of peace,” is one of Zurlini’s many thoughtful allusions—to Dante, Stendhal, and Piero della Francesca, among others.
Organized by Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film, and Cynthia Rowell, independent consultant.