EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|GIRL WITH A SUITCASE (LA RAGAZZA CON LA VALIGIA) (director/writer: Valerio Zurlini; screenwriters: Leo Benvenuti/Piero De Bernardi/Enrico Medioli/Giuseppe Patroni-Griffi/Giuseppe Bennati/based on a story by Mr. Zurlini; cinematographer: Tino Santoni; editor: Mario Serandrei; music: Mario Nascimbene; cast: Claudia Cardinale (Aida), Jacques Perrin (Lorenzo), Corrado Pani (Marcello), Luciana Angelico (Aunt Martha), Gian Maria Volonté (Piero), Riccardo Garrone (Romolo), Romolo Valli (Father Introna); Runtime: 109; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Maurizio Lodi-Fe; Koch Vision; 1961-Italy/France-dubbed in English)|
has Claudia Cardinale at her charming best."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Valerio Zurlini ("Black Jesus"/"Violent Summer"/"Family Diary"), a once celebrated but now forgotten filmmaker with no distinctive style, who made only eight feature films over a 20-year career, superbly directs this appealing classic Italian b/w film that slipped under the radar and is rarely seen at present--but deserves to be rediscovered. It has Claudia Cardinale at her charming best, following her breakthrough role in Rocco and his Brothers (1960). It's based on a story by Zurlini and is written by Leo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Giuseppe Patroni-Griffi and Giuseppe Bennati.
Cardinale) is a sultry young nightclub
singer who is having
a stormy affair with Piero (Gian
Maria Volonté), the leader of a
small-time dance band in Riccione. Marcello (Corrado Pani),
a wealthy playboy, seduces the gold-digger to quit her job, as he lures
her to run away with him by promising through his connections he can
secure for her a film career. The cad surprisingly abandons her near
Parma--leaving her on the road with
suitcase, thus ending their two-week relationship. The irate
and not-too-swift Aida somehow gets Marcello's home address in Parma,
he lives with his Aunt Martha (Luciana
Angelico), his absentee businessman
father, and innocent younger 16-year-old brother Lorenzo (Jacques Perrin). Marcello orders his
younger brother to get rid of Aida when she shows up at his doorsteps,
but Lorenzo becomes smitten with the older woman and anoints himself as
her protector--feeling sorry for her plight caused by his older
brother's bad behavior and because he's attracted to Aida and wants to
assert his manhood. Lorenzo thereby gets money from his aunt by lying
to her and registers Aida in a fancy hotel, and also buys her expensive
dresses so she can fit into the ritzy surroundings. The older woman
realizes the teenager also wants to get in her pants like the older
guys, but she's at least smart enough to realize the affair has no
chance of working in the real world and tries to discourage it. When
the family priest (Romolo
Valli) gets wind of the
relationship, he speaks with Aida to tell her the truth about what is
happening and he convinces her to return to her hometown. But the
headstrong Lorenzo follows her
there to win her over, until he too realizes this match is not meant to
be. But he feels sorry for Aida's troubles and leaves her a large sum
money before he returns to Parma.
The illicit love story is tenderly played out against the background of the cold real world of showbiz and the kid's cold bourgeois setting, by a sympathetic Cardinale and an endearing Perrin--who both make you care about what happens to them. Zurlini keeps away for the most part the sentimentality and allows a poignant coming-of-age tale to prosper in a tasteful way.
REVIEWED ON 4/29/2010 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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