Set during the early years of Hitler’s regime, Italian director Luchino Visconti’s 1969 epic The Damned charts the shifting sympathies of the wealthy industrialist Von Essenbeck family, whose resentment toward Der Führer is eventually replaced by acceptance and loyalty.
Watch The Damned. Then try these writing exercises inspired by the movie, borrowed from my grad-school class on “Film and Approaches to Writing the Novel” with John Rechy:
- Describe any conventionally genteel ritual—a game, a ceremony, a celebration—and render it ugly and/or grotesque, without using those words.
- Using only the language of dance and choreography, and without dialogue, describe a scene of violence. Do not identify the violence.
- Against a background of beauty, write a passage that depicts a destructive encounter (physical and/or psychological) between two people; do not use dialogue.
- Write dialogue between two people in which they are discussing someone historical, contemporary or otherwise. Do not mention the person; suggest him/her and what single act (good or evil) prominently identifies him/her.
The Mots Justes Series on Film and Approaches to Writing