BELLISSIMA
1951, Movietime, 108 min, Dir: Luchino Visconti

Anna Magnani is unforgettable as Maddalena, a working-class Italian convinced that her daughter could be the next Shirley Temple in this neorealist dramedy. Against the advice of her husband (Gastone Renzelli), Maddalena spends a small fortune on clothes, hairstyling, ballet lessons and anything that might give little Maria (Tina Apicella) the edge in auditions – only to discover that the movie business isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Real-life director Alessandro Blasetti plays himself in the film, which reportedly was inspired when Visconti cast a child’s role in an earlier production and was deluged by stage mothers.


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