AN ALL-CELLULOID SPECIAL HOMAGE TO A DIVA OF THE ITALIAN CINEMA
Luce Cinecittà, The Italian Cultural Institute and Cinema Italia San Francisco are proud to announce Anna Magnani – A Film Series, a special presentation of four 35mm prints of the most acclaimed movies of Nannarella at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, on September 24, 2016, as part of a major tour in the U.S. and Canada – starting at New York City’s Lincoln Center on May 18, 2016, traveling to Chicago in June, Los Angeles (American Cinematheque and UCLA) in August, and continuing in Houston, Columbus (Ohio), and Toronto in January 2017.
The day begins with Roberto Rossellini’s neorealist war drama "Open City". This is followed by Luchino Visconti’s satirical spin on the movie industry – "Bellissima". The evening’s Spotlight Film is Daniel Mann’s "The Rose Tattoo", the celebrated adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play that garnered three Academy Awards, including Best Actress for Magnani, who also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for this memorable English-language role. A vivacious Roman- and Louisiana-styled party will follow the screening. The series will conclude with Mario Monicelli’s "The Passionate Thief", a comedic adaptation of two novels by Alberto Moravia, starring Magnani and Totò.
Following "The Rose Tattoo", celebrate Anna Magnani - A Film Series with a sensational party in the Castro Theatre mezzanine level with food and fun, inspired by the Rome of Anna Magnani.
This series is co-presented by Istituto Luce Cinecittà and The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, with the support of The Leonardo da Vinci Society. It was organized by program director Amelia Antonucci of Cinema Italia San Francisco, and Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero of Istituto Luce Cinecittà, in association with the Ministry of Culture, Italy, andunder the auspices of The Consul General of Italy in San Francisco.
Tickets are $12 per screening. Tickets for the party are $20. A pass to see all four films and attend the party is $60.
• 1:00 PM: Rome Open City (100 mins. – 1945)
• 3:00 PM: Bellissima (115 mins. – 1952)
• 6:00 PM: The Rose Tattoo (117 mins. – 1955)
• 8:00 PM: La Roma di Magnani Party in the Castro Theatre’s mezzanine
• 10:00 PM: The Passionate Thief (106 mins. – 1960)
All films will be presented with English subtitles.
The movies in which Anna Magnani acted, even if directed by famous directors as Rossellini, Pasolini, Fellini and Visconti, often are remembered as “Magnani’s movies” and have inspired generations of filmmaker around the world. Jean Renoir says of her: “She is the greatest actress that I worked with: She is entirely ‘animal’… An animal created for stage and screen.” Roberto Rossellini called her “the greatest acting genius since Eleonora Duse”. Tennessee Williams became an admirer and wrote The Rose Tattoo specifically for her to star in, a role for which she received an Oscar in 1955.
Born in 1908 in Rome, Anna Magnani was raised by her grandmother in modest conditions. She studied for two years at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome and began her career in a traveling Italian Theatre troupe. While gaining fame as a stage actress, she was discovered by her future husband and film director Goffredo Alessandrini who cast her in two of his films. When her marriage to Alessandrini ended in 1950, she never married again. Magnani once said, “Women like me can only submit to men capable of dominating them, and I have never found anyone capable of dominating me.”
In 1941, Magnani appeared in her first important film, Teresa Venerdi, directed by Vittorio De Sica, but it was her 1945 role in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City that instantly made her a star in Italy and abroad. Her performance won her Best Foreign Actress of the year by the National Board of Review and Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival.
The seven years following Rome Open City were the most prolific for Magnani’s career and she was seen as the symbol of the Italian national spirit during the postwar years. Her acting, so spontaneous and natural, and her instinctive emotional approach to the characters portrayed, made her for a few years the most popular Italian actress in Hollywood.
In 1956 she won the Academy Award as Best Actress for The Rose Tattoo, directed by Daniel Mann. It was an adaptation of a stage text especially written for her by Tennessee Williams.
(1945 - 100 mins. - B/W)
In Italian, German, and Latin with English subtitles.
Director: Roberto Rossellini Screenplay: Sergio Amidei Cinematographer: Ubaldo Arata Starring: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi
Rome Open City (Roma città aperta) was Roberto Rossellini’s revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it. Though told with more melodramatic flair than the other films that would form this trilogy and starring some well-known actors—Aldo Fabrizi as a priest helping the partisan cause and Anna Magnani in her breakthrough role as Pina, the fiancée of a resistance member—Rome Open City (Roma città aperta) is a shockingly authentic experience, conceived and directed amid the ruin of World War II, with immediacy in every frame. Marking a watershed moment in Italian cinema, this galvanic work garnered awards around the globe and left the beginnings of a new film movement in its wake.
Selected awards and nominations: 1946 Festival de Cannes Grand Prize of the Festival; 1946 National Board of Review (USA) winner for Best Actress (Anna Magnani), Best Foreign Film, and Top Ten Films; 1947 Academy Award nomination for Best Writing.
35mm film print from Istituto Luce Cinecittà.
(1952 - 115 mins. - B/W)
In Italian with English subtitles.
Director: Luchino Visconti Screenplay: Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Francesco Rosi, Luchino Visconti Cinematographers:Piero Portalupi, Paul Ronald Starring: Anna Magnani, Walter Chiari, Alessandro Blasetti, Tina Apicella
Bellissima centers on a working-class mother in Rome, Maddalena (Anna Magnani), who drags her young daughter (Tina Apicella) to Cinecittà to attend an audition for a new film by Alessandro Blasetti. Maddalena is a stage mother who loves movies and whose efforts to promote her daughter grow increasingly frenzied.
The film, which is a satire of the film industry, was shot at the Cinecittà studios. Alessandro Blasetti, a contemporary film director, appears as himself. Cesare Zavattini wrote the story for Bellissima, which Visconti, Suso Cecchi d’Amico (ensuring the contribution of a woman’s perspective), and Francesco Rossi turned into the best script from which Visconti ever would work. When Bette Davis saw Bellissima, she proclaimed Magnani the greatest actress she had ever seen. Unbeknown to Davis at the time, Magnani considered Davis the greatest actress she had ever seen.
Winner, Best Actress Silver Ribbon, in 1952 by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.
35 mm print courtesy of Istituto Luce Cinecittà.
(1955 - 117 mins. - B/W)
In English and Italian with English subtitles.
Director: Daniel Mann Screenplay: Tennessee Williams Cinematographer: James Wong Howe Starring: Anna Magnani, Burt Lancaster
In The Rose Tattoo, Anna Magnani played the widowed mother of a teenage daughter. Based on the play by Tennessee Williams, it was Magnani's first English speaking role in a mainstream Hollywood movie, and it won her the Academy Award for Best Actress. Lancaster, who played the role of a lusty truck driver alongside Magnani, said: “If she had not found acting as an outlet for her enormous vitality, she would have become ‘a great criminal’.”
Film historian John Di Leo has written that Magnani's acting in the film “displays why she is inarguably one of the half dozen greatest screen actresses of all time”. He also added: “Whenever Magnani laughs or cries (which is often), it's as if you've never seen anyone laugh or cry before: has laughter ever been so burstingly joyful or tears so shatteringly sad?”
Tennessee Williams based the character of Serafina on Magnani, as Williams was a great admirer of her acting abilities,and he stipulated that the movie “must star what he described as ‘the most explosive emotional actress of her generation, Anna Magnani.’” In his memoirs, Williams described why he insisted on Magnani playing this role:
“Anna Magnani was magnificent as Serafina in the movie version of Tattoo... She was as unconventional a woman as I have known in or out of my professional world, and if you understand me at all, you must know that in this statement I am making my personal estimate of her honesty, which I feel was complete. She never exhibited any lack of self-assurance, any timidity in her relations with that society outside of whose conventions she quite publicly existed... she looked absolutely straight into the eyes of whomever she confronted and during that golden time in which we were dear friends, I never heard a false word from her mouth.”
The Rose Tattoo was originally staged on Broadway with Maureen Stapleton as Magnani's English was too limited at the time for her to star. Magnani won other Best Actress awards for her role, including the BAFTA Film Award, Golden Globes Award, National Board of Review (USA), and the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. When her name was announced as the Oscar winner, an American journalist called her in Rome to tell her the news; his challenge was convincing her he wasn't joking.
35 mm film print courtesy of the Packard Humanities Institute Collection at UCLA Film & Television Archive.
(1960 - 106 mins. - B/W)
In Italian with English subtitles.
Director: Mario Monicelli Screenplay: Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Agenore Incrocci, Mario Monicelli, Furio Scarpelli Cinematographer: Leonida Barboni Starring: Anna Magnani, Totò, Ben Gazzarra, Fred Clark
Written by Monicelli, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Age and Scarpelli, adapted by D’Amico from the novels Risate di Gioia and Ladri in Chiesa by Alberto Moravia. Photographed by Leonida Barboni.
For The Passionate Thief, Totò was reunited with his revue costar of the forties, Anna Magnani, whom he revered. An adaptation of two novels by Alberto Moravia, this film depicts the failed illusions of two broken-down bit players at Cinecittà. The marvelous Magnani portrays a hapless would-be actress who becomes implicated in a theft by a retired extra (Totò) and a young pickpocket (Ben Gazzara) with whom she falls in love. Time Out New York called this, one of Monicelli’s most beloved comedies, “fun and frothy… It’s like a long night of champagne without the hangover.”
35 mm print courtesy of Istituto Luce Cinecittà.