Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Monica Vitti in Town

As reported on those vintage magazines (sounds better than old magazines) it was nice to get my hands on this issue of TOWN, which I had when I was 16, a British fashion/style magazine for the man about town, from October 1962 with that exciting new star Monica Vitti on the cover - Antonioni's L'ECLISSE had opened and was the must-see movie then. I have written a lot about this film and Antonioni and Vitti before, see the labels.

There is a good feature in this issue by Italian specialist John Francis Lane ("Films and Filming"'s Italian correspondent) interviewing Monica here. 
She is the new Italian sensation after Lollo, Loren and Cardinale ..... and she wants to do comedy but Antonioni only sees her in serious drama, as in L'AVVENTURA, LA NOTTE and now L'ECLISSE, and he is preparing THE RED DESERT for her, another serious role. Monica, then 28, does not identify with these women and wants to be a clown, and funny like Kay Kendall. 
The intellectuals at that time saw Antonioni and Vitti as the height of chic in that fascinating era of early Sixites international cinema. Alienation was the topic of the day and Antonioni specialised in it. Monica giggles and says nobody could be less alienated than she. Monica wants to act in a comedy - for her, life is a continuous joke. 
Like Fellini, Antonioni moulds his characters on to the personality of the actor. Much of Monica has gone into those characters: Claudia in L'AVVENTURA, Valentina in LA NOTTE and now Vittoria in L'ECLISSE - what has emerged is the personality of an actress who is the anti-star, who has nothing in common with Loren and Cardinale and even less with Bardot and Monroe. The girl of the new decade will recognise herself in Claudia, Valentina and Vittoria. 
Fifty plus years later, Monica now in her 80s (as are Loren and Lollobrigida) is it seems in seclusion with Alzheimers, and has not been seen in public for a decade or more. One trusts she is being looked after and happy. She has been married to Italian actor Roberto Russo since her Antonioni period. 
Antonioni died in 2007 - the same day as Ingmar Bergman, as per our reports on that - Antonioni label. The films go on being watched and discovered. 
We love Monica too of course as MODESTY BLAISE and in all those comedies she made, after Antonioni, as per Monica label.

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