Rome Open City (Roma città aperta), shown above, here's your chance. This one brought the actress to international attention, and its power remains complete, from Magnani's amazing performance right through to the film's shocking, memorable conclusion, featuring a scene you are unlikely to ever forget.
Rossellini to Renoir, Visconti to Lattuada, Monicelli to Fellini, Pasolini to De Sica. And when she worked with secondary (or less) directors here in the States -- say, Stanley Kramer or Daniel Mann, whose The Rose Tattoo is shown above: and, yes, that's Burt Lancaster on the right -- their work seemed, well, somehow elevated by hers. Perhaps watching her superb work helped them rise to the occasion.
FSLC's La Magnani retrospective, co-resented with Istituto Luce Cinecittà (click the FSLC link above to see the entire schedule) -- films by all these men, all starring Anna Magnani, and all worth seeing, some of them over and over again. This woman is a joy to watch. (The still above is from The Passionate Thief. And yes, that's a very young Ben Gazzara at right.)
Peddlin' in Society.)
BELLISSIMA, in which Magnani plays one of the great "stage mother" characters of all time, determined to get her little daughter into the movies. Watching this one, you can not help but understand how the director eventually came to stage operas -- so operatic and oh-my-god-Italian! is this movie.
Walter Chiari), something magical happens and we see a whole new character emerge. Granted, it's one that goes back into its armored shell soon after, but, still, what a scene this is!
The Golden Coach (above), Pasolini's Mamma Roma, and William Dieterle's Volcano. But it's those smaller, lesser-known (here in the USA, anyway) works that I'd give up an aged, left testicle to view. Ah, well. Maybe someday. But if you live in the tri-state area, lucky you can actually get to this landmark series.
Walter Reade Theater (my favorite place to watch a movie in all the world) this Wednesday, May 18, through Wednesday, June 1. Again, you can view the entire schedule of films by clicking here, and then clicking on each individual movie for the many further details.