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A woman holding a small child while crying

Film

Presented by the Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI

Bellissima

PG

24 Feb

A rare early comedy from the great Marxist aesthete of Italian cinema becomes, in Visconti’s hands, his first great infiltration of operatic swoop into neo-realist detail. This push-pull dialectic was eventually abandoned toward the latter half of his career.

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  • A superb Anna Magnani stars as Maddalena: showbiz mother, vulgarian and representative of the post-war petite bourgeoisie. Yet what begins as a prophetic excoriation of the then-nascent cult of celebrity transforms into a deeply sympathetic treatise on ageing, failure and legacy, Visconti amply demonstrating his understanding of “the charged theatricality of ordinary life” (Fernando F. Croce). With Walter Chiari.