Celebrities With Their Fans; Celebrities With Us; Celebrities For Us
Great casting at Cinecitta where girls and young women flock to fulfill their dream of acting in a movie, their dream of becoming famous. Among them, we notice the famous actress Madeleine Fischer (reminding me personally of Antonioni's LE AMICHE most). All go through challenging stages that lead to screen tests. Some go crazy at 'YES' others suffer at 'NO.' Two girls, Anna Amendola and Emma Danieli, are selected for the interviews and granted their great privilege... However, the chaos of the whole event occurs pretty confusing...it seems that the movie has hardly anything to offer except for naive looks of female sweeties absorbed by their dream...confusing to a certain moment...everything changes when it occurs that SIAMO DONNE is a portmanteau film which offers four sequences within directed by different directors who cast four great female actresses of the time: Alida Valli, Ingrid Bergman, Isa Miranda and the most fabulous of all Anna Magnani, the icon of Italian cinema.
The celebrities will, for a moment, forget about their lives of great artists but will experience a glimpse of simple, naive, educational, hilarious situations that will remain in the memory of their fans. In such a portmanteau movie, the success depends on two factors: what the stories have in themselves that may absorb us and how the actresses depict their parts and highlight the important details. Most people will probably agree with me that the best of all stories is Anna Magnani's directed by Luchino Visconti. The humor combined with excellent performance is undeniably masterful. Yet, the three others differ considerably and, in a way, are hard to decide which one will amuse you and which one will occur pathetic. Let me consider each story separately.
ALIDA VALLI (the actress known for the movies like THE PARADISE CASE by Alfred Hitchock, IL GRIDO by Michelangelo Antonioni, SENSO by Luchino Visconti) is not very enthusiastic about dancing with the crew of the production she takes part in. It all bores her and makes her pretenses considerably meaningful. How to spend the evening nicely then? The cure for her boredom seems to be an engagement party her masseuse Anna invites her for. There, everything is so nice, so fabulous; people treat her like a celebrity. The introduction of her to various people, the nodding that makes her so eminent....a star among her fans. But the negative change comes when mutual flirts come into action....life occurs to be no movie, no illusion and...what is there for the actress to do? Directed by Gianni Franciolini, the story itself is not that convincing, though has its aspects that the Neorealist Italian cinema underlined in many films of the period.
And here comes INGRID BERGMAN, the Swedish fame, with the second story which is supposed to be a funny story and, supposedly, occurs to be so. She will make you laugh at figuring out a dilemma: the roses in her garden have been destroyed... It turns out that the dog Lo Giacono is not guilty. Neither are the kids who play around. Not much time and effort is needed to realize that it is a hen belonging to Ingrid's proprietress Signora Anorazzi which causes the damage. What to do to capture the hen that appears to be as obstinate as its owner? Directed by Ingrid's husband Roberto Rossellini with whom she worked on many movies, the story will amuse you, particularly when you see Ms Bergman (who played some high standard roles) at such a simple, naive action.
Who follows is the Italian "Marlene Dietrich" ISA MIRANDA (known for films like LA SIGNORA DI TUTTI by Max Ophuels, HOTEL IMPERIAL by Robert Florey and ADVENTURE IN DIAMONDS by George Fitzmaurice). She follows with the most educational and, perhaps, touching story. Her apartment is luxurious, filled with lots memorabilia, albums, souvenirs, all treasures from a career, even an Oscar. But it is time she will realize that these things, though so glamorous, do not fill the room with feelings and love. They cannot give happiness. The lucky day for her comes when, by chance, she takes a little wounded boy Giancarlo to hospital. After he is treated with his injuries, she brings him back home where she meets several of his siblings, so lively, so sweet, so helpful and pure 'bambini.' The sweetest one is little Paola who seems to like the new (famous) guest. As long as their mother comes back, Ms Miranda takes care of the children. Can they place some longing to her lonely life? Can they create a smile upon the face affected by fame? Directed by Luigi Zampa, the story highlights the need that appears in every woman, the need for having children.
And finally appears ANNA MAGNANI, deservedly considered by many people the greatest Italian actress, one of the greatest artists who have ever illuminated the screen. Her presence itself makes the part impressive and unforgettable. Known for many of her dramatic roles, she surprises us here her story is the funniest. Not to spoil anything, this much I can reveal: imagine a pretentious lady, a great artist and a singer with a little dog who is to be charged one more lira because the dog is not considered a lap dog what will she do in disputing this unjust, scandalous charge? Will she move the world considering that there is little time left for the theater performance? Directed by Luchino Visconti, the success of the story has much to owe to him. But Anna Magnani will leave you breathless with her incredible portrayal of her part and the fabulous song at the end of the film.
Therefore, SIAMO DONNE is a highly recommended portmanteau film, particularly for the fans of old cinema. The short stories will make you laugh, will make you reflect a bit and will finally stun you as exceptionally memorable, satirical and natural.
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