“When we parted I had to change. I wanted to do comedy, but it was difficult to get the audience to accept me, they were waiting for this tortured, neurotic woman”.
|I still have this poster, which was on my bedroom wall for years ...|
GIRL WITH A PISTOL in 1968 never surfaced here either but I got to see it recently. Monica plays a Sicilian peasant woman (in a comic black wig) who has been dishonoured by her man, so she gets a gun and follows him to the UK – it shows a different non-swinging view of working-class London as Vitti gets entangled with Stanley Baker and also Corin Redgrave and Tony Booth (from the “Till Death Us Do Part” tv series). At one stage Baker takes her into the famous gay Salisbury pub (the pub used in VICTIM). They then move to Brighton so it was interesting seeing locations there I know. It’s an odd film directed by Mario Monicelli, not quite sure if it’s a comedy or not.
Her filmography contains lots of other titles from the 70s which never made it to London, one that did was THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY, a Luis Bunuel film from 1974 with various satirical segments, where Vitti and Jean Claude Brialy do a funny sketch as a couple getting turned on by what the audience imagines to be obscene photographs. It is all very Bunuel who was having a late renaissance at the time.
Above: 1993 BBC interview for "Hollywood UK" series. (Vitti label)
The Antonioni films will continue to fascinate and remain quite timeless. No wonder a retrospective of the Antonioni and Vitti films was titled “The Moderns”, and her comedies are delightful seeing this fascinating, beautiful woman being amusing and amused. Not as over-familiar to us as Loren or Lollobrigida she remains an eminent Italian icon it is always a pleasure to see or re-discover in something new.
Postscript: Reading the posts on the Monica Vitti imdb page has led me to some Italian newspaper articles on the possibility that she may have Alzheimer’s disease, hence her absence in recent years, not even at Antonioni's funeral last year.