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An Italian feast

By STEVE VINEBERG  |  August 7, 2007

In view of Antonioni’s recent death, you might want to take a look at LA SIGNORA SENZA CAMELIE|THE LADY WITHOUT CAMELIAS (August 12 at 2 pm; August 16 at 4 pm), which he made in 1953, nearly a decade before L’avventura made him famous. It’s a glossy backstage story, closer in approach to some of the pictures Hollywood was turning out around the same time, like The Bad and the Beautiful and The Barefoot Contessa, but without the kitsch. Although it was once an art-house mainstay, De Sica’s LA CIOCIARA|TWO WOMEN (August 23 at 1 pm; August 24 at 4 pm) now shows up infrequently. Adapted from Alberto Moravia’s novel about a mother and daughter surviving the Second World War, it’s not one of the De Sica masterworks: it feels warmed over, and it’s marred by some bad casting errors. (Jean-Paul Belmondo as a bespectacled, virginal Marxist?) But De Sica gets a solid performance out of Sophia Loren, who took the 1961 Oscar. A more urgent must-see is Stefania Sandrelli’s performance as the aspiring model in Angelo Pietrangeli’s IO LA CONOSCEVO BENE|I KNEW HER WELL (September 2 at 1:15 pm). It came out in 1965, the same year as Darling, but it’s in every way a more compelling and plausible treatment of similar subject matter. Sandrelli appeared in many of the most famous Italian films of the 1960s and ’70s, but in this country she never won the recognition she deserved. Io la conoscevo bene will make it clear why she should be classed in the top echelon of Italy’s leading ladies.

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Related: The garden of Vittorio De Sica, Hugs and jugs, Dance Monkey: Maria Ciampa, More more >
  Topics: Features , Celebrity News, Entertainment, Alberto Moravia,  More more >
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