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Ossessione (Obsession) is a 1943 film based on the novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain. Luchino Visconti’s first feature film, it is considered by many to be the first Italian neorealist film, though there is some debate about whether such a categorization is accurate.
Working under the censorship of the Fascist Italian government, Visconti encountered problems with the production even before filming commenced. He had initially planned to adapt a story by Giovanni Verga, a renowned Italian realist writer and one of his greatest influences, but it was turned down almost immediately by the Fascist authorities due to its subject matter, which revolved around bandits. Around this time, Visconti uncovered a French translation of Cain’s novel which, famously, had been given to him by French director Jean Renoir while he was working in France in the 1930s.
Visconti adapted the script with a group of men he selected from the Milanese magazine Cinema. The members of this group were talented filmmakers and writers and played a large role in the emerging neorealist movement: Mario Alicata, Gianni Puccini, Antonio Pietrangeli and Giuseppe De Santis. When Ossessione was...