A beatific stranger played by Terence Stamp arrives in a rich Milanese household, and soon his presence is setting hormones a-flutter. Before long, the enigmatic man has seduced the teen daughter and her brother, their mother and father – even the maid.
Lives will never be the same, but for better or for worse? And what can it all mean? The year is 1968, and Pasolini shapes all his political and cultural contradictions into this radical celluloid statement which proceeds with the mysterious determination of a renaissance religious fresco.
As the visitor, a positively serene Stamp rocks the world of all concerned, but whether he’s bringing sexual ecstasy or divine revelation is for us to decide. Pasolini presents these transcendent upheavals with studious reserve, almost as if ideological transformation is best perceived in the unadorned language of biblical miracles.
Yet the film’s conviction is truly defiant, its implications provocative across the board. A bona fide icon of 60s world cinema. At the 1968 Venice Film Festival, the film was given an award by the International Catholic Film Office. The award was withdrawn after critical remarks by Pope Paul VI. After the festival the film was confiscated by Italian police and Pasolini charged with obscenity, but acquitted.
Also starring Silvana Mangano and Massimo Girotti.