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Bellissima (1951)

Drama | 115 minutes
3,56 128 votes

Genre: Drama

Duration: 115 minuten

Country: Italy

Directed by: Luchino Visconti

Stars: Anna Magnani, Walter Chiari and Tina Apicella

IMDb score: 7,7 (5.332)

Releasedate: 28 December 1951

Bellissima plot

A folk woman lets her daughter audition for a movie role. She lets herself be impressed by Cinecitta's movie buffs, until she notices that her child, an ungifted ugly, serves as a butt for jokes.

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Full Cast & Crew

Actors and actresses

Maddalena Cecconi

Alberto Annovazzi

Maria Cecconi

Spartaco Cecconi

Tilde Spernanzoni

Photographer's Wife

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avatar van Dievegge

Dievegge

  • 2998 messages
  • 7678 votes

During her struggle to turn her daughter into a child star, Maddalena (Anna Magnani) says at one point, "I could have been an actress." In doing so, she reveals what drives her: she wants to live her own dream through her daughter, who has little talent and hardly realizes what is going on.

However, it is all too easy to condemn her. There is also a social factor at play. She wants her daughter to have a better life than herself when she grows up. She lives in a working-class neighborhood in post-war Italy, earns some money as a home nurse. The people live close together and soberly. Buildings are in poor condition, the walls bare, the interiors poor. The contrast with the vain glitter of the Cinecittà is great.

Visconti finds the right balance between realism, sentiment and humor. Anna Magnani is great as the energetic outburst, at times quick-tempered and insufferable, but with her heart in the right place.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van Bobbejaantje

Bobbejaantje

  • 1826 messages
  • 1822 votes

A shocking look at the film industry in post-war Italy. This is also the downside of the neo-realist movement in which non-professional actors are picked up from the audience. On the other hand, this film is also conceived in a neo-realistic way, with non-professional actors, which makes it a self-ironic case. I also read about it as the only Visconti film with a comic undertone, but in any case I enjoyed it.

The film revolves around housewife Anna Magnani who wants to launch her daughter Tina Apicella into the film world. It is striking that it is mainly about Magnani's dream, where her daughter's opinion is never asked for a moment. She is treated as some kind of object. A story that is still relevant today, in the world of entertainment and sports. Magnani takes up the most screen time and has long lines of text, which she delivers convincingly. In any case, a film with a lot of shouting and temperament, which is not unusual for Italian film. It's also nice that Alessandro Blasetti can play himself as director.

The story is intelligently developed, with secondary characters who add realistic spice to the whole, working towards a beautiful climax.

Note: A film is projected on the ground floor of the apartment block on which Magnani and film husband Gastone Renzelli (a butcher in real life) provide commentary. It concerns Red River (1948), which it is an incredible coincidence that I just saw that film before this Bellissima.

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original

avatar van tbouwh

tbouwh

  • 5639 messages
  • 4953 votes

This year, Bellissima was in the Venice Classics program of the Biennale. I was able to catch up on it on MUBI (disappearing at the end of this month), although it was not the 'new' version of the film. I found this on demand version reasonable enough.

In this classic of neorealism, which also marks an early phase for Visconti (he was not the only one) in his career later abandoned elsewhere, a working-class mother thinks she has found an escape route from her hopeless existence. It is clear that her hope is in vain, but thematically this is of course a nice double mirror for the appeal of cinema and the inevitability of class struggle. The biggest problem here is the typically hysterical acting, with most adult players (with Anna Magnani in the lead) dialogue as if they were wearing a hearing aid. Not infrequently, the conflict in scenes is so heightened that I had to sigh again: 'oh yes, that's why I have a love-hate relationship with this important 'corner' of film history.'

dutch flagTranslated from Dutch · View original