Mrs. Moreau reigns in this pleasant,light historical sketch made with a strong sense of the show
The Italian XIXth. century history offered a copious stuff for some novelists,and found its fulfilled Romanesque expression in the writings of some of them, such as Stendhal,Dumas,Balzac (especially for the early part of the 19th. century),Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa and Giono.This epoch got different interpretations;sometimes,it was used as a background for an adventurous action.For some,it offered a rich material for ironic and lucid psychological reflections. Others amused with the exaltation, grandiloquence,rhetoric, verbosity and declamations of the century.The epoch' s protagonists were, indeed,thrilling, and,often,morally ambiguous.Picturesque period,of light gallantry and exulting ardor,and of Conspirations,secret societies,etc.,and of mean calculations,and of hedonism and debauchery,frankly at odds with the bourgeois prosaic life;yes,and,in "La Contessa ...",some very frightful deeds are told with an amusing irony and nonchalance and detachment and verve.
Several things make this show worth watching:(1)the delightful Francesca Dellera,a former Brass actress;this woman was very interesting as Nanà in Nanà (1999);(2)Mrs. Moreau,the best French movie artist,as "Virginia"'s imposed teacher of seemly seduction(she did a similar role in "Nikita");(3)"La Contessa ..." is visually amazing,beautiful,and it displays this beauty in an almost shameless way:it shows this ample,lively beauty despite all the fashions that ask a movie to be stripped ,devoid of all visual beauty,etc..This ingenuous aesthetics delights.The luxurious aspect is in accord with the story's world:the Italian aristocratic society.The settings,the mansions,the vestments,the verdure,the landscapes...The script is goodish,an occasion to show all this visual beauty.
Mrs. Dellera is lucent and luscious,and sensuously mild ,as Virginia,the good-natured countess of Castiglione,the Cavour's cousin,a lady who lives in Piemont.Francesca Dellera is as charming,graceful and luminous as ever.As long as she displays her décolletage,and her gracefulness,who would ask here else?Mrs. Dellera was an excellent choice for "Virginia".She becomes the object of Napoleon III's lust.Napoleon III:unanimously blamed and derided by the literati of his times,the man was,none the less,an interesting adventurer,and,after all,an Emperor.
Jeanne Moreau frames the rather cynical and without delusions story (Virginia is betrayed by her seditious and "subversive" lover,etc.,the most exalted patriotism nears with the base betrayal) with her comments.As usually,she makes a first-hand role.
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