La Signora senza Camelie (Masters of Cinema) DVD+Blu-ray
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Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni
Produced in 1953
Main Language - Italian with English subtitles
Michael Brooke thoroughly recommends this superb presentation of Antonioni's behind-the-scenes show-business drama, finally receiving its first commercial release in the UK.
The superb presentation of this first-ever British commercial release of Michelangelo Antonioni's third feature (albeit his second to be screened after 'I Vinti' ran into censorship difficulties) should go some way towards correcting its undeserved neglect.
While it's no L'Avventura or Red Desert, Lucia Bosè's shopgirl-turned-film star Clara Manni anticipates the alienated female protagonists later incarnated by Monica Vitti, while Antonioni's formal control and presentation of architecture and space is already masterly: as Robert Benayoun comments in the booklet "Antonioni is the only director in the whole history of cinema to have expressed without prejudice the power that locations hold over human emotions".
Its cynical study of the Italian film industry anticipates François Truffaut's Day for Night as it tracks the career of two producers as they negotiate that ever-perilous tightrope between art and commerce. Gianni marries Clara, intending to make her a great tragedian, while Ercole thinks that she's more suited to the trashy, eroticised costume melodramas with which she first made her name. Small wonder that Clara seeks refuge in the arms of a diplomat with no showbiz connections, but this naturally creates its own complications.
Michael Brooke on 21st February 2011
Author of 145 reviews
A riveting 'behind-the-scenes' show-business drama from the legendary Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, La Signora senza Camelie explores themes that would haunt its director from L'Avventura through La Notte and The Passenger - the tenuous hold of an individual on her identity, and the dangers inherent to performance, in life and on-screen.
It's the story of a shopclerk named Clara (played by the captivating Lucia Bosé, also of Antonioni's brilliant debut feature, Story of a Love Affair) who finds a chance casting in a small movie role develop into a full-blown career as screen-siren. Tension erupts when her husband can no longer tolerate watching her frivolous cinema escapades, and pushes her into a 'serious, artistic' production of the life of Joan of Arc - whereupon she is castigated by the critical establishment.
Publisher: Eureka / Masters of Cinema
Length: 105 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Format: DVD+Blu-ray B&W
Released: 21st March 2011
Cat No: EKA70031
- 2 discs
- Beautiful new transfer of the film in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, presented in a 1080p AVC encode on the Blu-ray
- A new and exclusive video introduction to the film with critic and teacher Gabe Klinger
- A new and exclusive video featuring Gabe Klinger discussing Antonioni in the context of the Italian production system of the 1950s
- Optional English subtitles
- A lengthy booklet containing newly translated critical pieces about the film, excerpts of interviews with Antonioni, and a lengthy debate between Antonioni and critic Luigi Chiarini on the subject of the film.