Un seno nuovo sotto l’albero
I follow up here themes raised in the previous post about the unruly and grotesque woman in the cinepanettone. I talked in that previous post about Christmas in love - not seen as one of the filone’s finest moments, and not a huge box office success in cinepanettone terms, but it retains its interest because of the manner it which it foregrounds the social construction of beauty. The film does this not only through its ambivalent presentation of the unruly Concy’s ‘right to desire’ I have already discussed, but also in the theme of aesthetic surgery introduced in another of its story strands, in which Christian De Sica and Sabrina Ferilli play a divorced couple of plastic surgeons. (The film’s concern with the body also extends to men and aging, the theme of the Boldi story strand, which like the Concy strand features an American guest star, in this case Danny De Vito.)
The film introduces the theme of aesthetic surgery in the meta-discursive context of a television feature on breast surgery, with a remark by the programme host (Livia Azzariti) about whether the widespread wish by teenage girls to undergo mammaplasty ‘sia da condannare o meno’. The judgmental frame is invoked ironically, of course – the cinepanettone has no intention of entering into a moralizing debate about aesthetic surgery. How could it, when the faces of the stars in the scene have so candidly been subject to surgical or other procedures in order to retain their screen-ready freshness?
De Sica (1951), Azzariti (1954), Ferilli (1964). You should see the portraits in the attic!
Interview transcripts (5): parlano gli attori (Boldi, De Sica, Ghini, Tabita)
Boldi and De Sica: even great love stories must end
Continuing from four previous posts (here, here, here, and here), more edited transcripts of the interviews myself and Luca Peretti have done about the cinepanettone, this time with the actors Massimo Boldi, Christian De Sica, Massimo Ghini and Barbara Tabita.
Natale in Sud Africa:Ghini, gurning, and Belen, verso
These were the most difficult interviews to do, and have generated the least interesting results - perhaps. Actors are very practiced at interviews and will often repeat material they know has entertained in the past. This was certainly the case with De Sica, who repeated stuff almost verbatim I had read elsewhere (the context itself was unfortunate: his mother had died the previous night after a long illness, but De Sica graciously preferred to go ahead with his appointments). Ghini’s was less an interview than a monologue that Luca and myself interrupted at irregular intervals. But at least those two interviews were face to face, which meant one could probe and respond politely. I’ve discussed the problems of my skypephone interview (audio only) with Boldi here, and I only recently managed to get an interview with a woman involved in the cinepanettoni, having failed to convince both Nancy Brilli and Sabrina Ferilli that I was anything but a sinister stalker geek. A colleague happened to know the Sicilian actor Barbara Tabita, who stared in Natale in Sud Africa, and the latter was kind enough to reply by email (from her iPhone) to my questions. Inevitably, I think, her responses were a little anecdotal and I would have liked to have been able to ask supplementary questions about a theme she was most interesting on, that of the body of female actor in a masculinist cinema culture.
The interview with Boldi took place in just before Christmas 2010, with De Sica and Ghini in January 2011, and Barbara Tabita sent me her answers by email in February 2012. My questions are signaled with an ‘A’. The interviews have been transcribed by Luca and Damiano Garofalo - sincere thanks to both of them.
Natale in Sud Africa: De Sica and Tabita on the menu