Stefania Sandrelli: A Woman of Strength and Courage
Wear a soft and elegant suit, “ideal for a lady of my age not too slim”. Don’t be fooled. Stefania Sandrelli has nothing of the aged former diva. The careful makeup, the loose hair, that ability to smile at life don’t make her so different – apart from the fact that she is very dressed, with boots and a heater to warm the cold day – from the woman lying in a Maja position very naked in a full-wall painting. The painting, where she wears only a small bow to cover the most intimate area, dates back to the early nineties and is the work of Salvatore Fiume, who then paid homage to Stefania. And she hung it in the living room, in front of a window overlooking the green of Rome.
Cinematic Debut and Motherhood
Cinema debut at 15: Lolita conquers Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce Italian Style. Mother at 18: with a daughter – Amanda – “very much desired” by the already married Gino Paoli (in ’74 he will have a second child, Vito, from her husband Nicky Pende). At 37 La chiave di Tinto Brass, with a nude that remained in the cinematographic memory: freedom is in Stefania’s DNA, even if “I have never felt transgressive. The key, for example: I accepted it because I wanted to interpret this very ironic character. I took a risk, I knew that on the screen my nakedness would be the protagonist, it could distract the spectator. But I followed my desire, as always“.
Stefania Sandrelli’s Directorial Debut
Following her desire, she now made her first film as a director, Christine Cristina, which comes out on May 7 – the same day as the Italian Oscars, the David di Donatello, where she is nominated as the protagonist of the Prima cosa bella by Paolo Virzì – and it is the medieval story of a poet (played by her daughter Amanda) determined to assert herself with the weapons of writing and the desire for independence. How did she meet her Christine? “I had a heart plunge when I discovered, with a book, the existence of this Cristina da Pizzano, born in 1364: what courage, what strength! It is the strength of women.” In the past she wanted to direct a film, which she never realized. Why? “They didn’t let me do it. Even this time it wasn’t easy to make me listen, especially because I had decided to direct and that’s it, without acting. Gérard Depardieu, who was supposed to have a part in Christine, proposed to me to play his wife. But I don’t overestimate myself, too many things together I couldn’t do.” But Depardieu does not appear in the film: why? “We are very friends, he was enthusiastic, he wanted to act and produce. When we met it was all nice, well dressed: he had fixed himself, because he had understood that we wanted to look him in the eyes. The fact is that he had this terrible vicissitude (the death of his son Guillaume, in October 2008, ed) and he is very tried, and in the end we did not feel like taking him.”