Death In  Venice

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA


Dr. Nancy Etcoff

Faculty Member, Harvard Medical School; Psychologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Death in Venice— How do we perceive beauty?

A discussion of why we are susceptible to beauty and how our brains perceive it.

Coolidge Corner Theatre Brookline, MA

Film Synopsis

Avant-garde composer Gustave Aschenbach travels to a Venetian seaside resort in search of repose after a period of artistic and personal stress.

In director Luchino Visconti's lush and haunting version of Thomas Mann's novella, an artist obsessed by his ideal of physical and spiritual beauty jeopardizes his own life to be near the object of his desire. Composer Gustave Aschenbach (Dirk Bogarde) travels to a Venice resort to escape personal and artistic stress. But peace eludes him as he develops a disturbing attraction to an adolescent boy, Tadzio (Björn Andresen). Aschenbach becomes obsessed with the boy’s youth and physical perfection, realizing that the child represents an ideal he can never match. However, their lives are both threatened when a sudden outbreak of cholera sweeps across the city.

About the Speaker

Dr. Nancy Etcoff is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, a psychologist, and the author of Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty.