The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Obsession (Ossessione)

Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 – Friday, Dec. 7, 2018

07:00 PM – 09:20 PM


Introduced by Professor Alessandro Carrera, University of Houston

Luchino Visconti’s raw neorealist debut is a loose, sexy adaptation of James M. Cain’s 1934 crime novel The Postman Always Rings Twice. In Obsession, the chiseled Massimo Girotti is a penniless drifter who breezes into the trattoria of unhappily married Clara Calamai, setting the stage for a torrid saga of lust, murder, and betrayal.

Film critic Emanuel Levy explains that Obsession is “ostensibly a drama about the destructive powers of sexual passion and betrayal, but its realistic depiction of the proletariat life under fascism enraged the authorities, which mutilated the film. Obsession heralded the Italian neorealist movement in its naturalistic setting and earthy texture, three years before Roberto Rossellini made his neorealist masterpiece Roma, Open City. For many years, Western critics couldn’t see Obsession and thus considered Roma, Open City as the first major work of the worldwide influential Italian movement neorealitsic cinema. Textbooks had to be changed in the wake of discovering Obsession.” Three years later, Lana Turner and John Garfield starred in Hollywood’s The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Obsession “occupies a pivotal position in the history of Italian cinema.” —film scholar Peter Bondanella

• Read an article about Obsession and Italian neorealism.

• See a feminist comparison of Obsession and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

► Plan ahead for your visit with parking information.


  • Tuesday - Wednesday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Thursday, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Friday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
    Sunday, 12:15 pm - 7:00 pm
    Monday: Closed (Except Monday Holidays). Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
  • General Admission

    • MFAH Members FREE
    • Adults $15
    • Seniors (65+ with ID) $10
    • Military (with ID) $10
    • College Students (19+ with ID) $7.50
    • Youth (13–18) $7.50
    • Children (12 & younger) FREE
    • Certain special exhibitions are ticketed, with an additional charge.
    On Thursday, general admission is free for everyone.

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Make visiting a snap! Visit mfah.org/parking for complete parking info, including a map you can download.

    Two Parking Garages        

    Parking Garage Hours

    Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Parking Garage Fees

    • Parking payments may be made only with major credit cards, or with MasterCard and Visa debit cards.
    • The first 30 minutes are always free. On Thursday, parking is free for visitors who enter the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
    • For hourly rates, go to mfah.org/parking
    Recommendation for guests with limited mobility: Use the covered drop-off lane at the Main Street entrance to the Beck Building, or use wheelchair-accessible parking in the garage at 1144 Binz Street.

Special Offers / Dining

Paolo Fronza, from Fellini Caffè, runs this sophisticated dining operation. Enjoy an array of Italian-inspired fare with a Texas flair, a European-style coffee bar, a kids menu, and much more at the MFA Café, located on the lower level of the Beck Building.

Events at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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