LA MOGLIE PIU BELLA

LA MOGLIE PIU BELLA - Damiano Damiani (1970)






TÍTULO ORIGINAL La moglie più bella

AÑO 1970

IDIOMA (Italiano)

SUBTITULOS Si (Separados)

DURACIÓN 108 min.

DIRECTOR Damiano Damiani

GUIÓN Damiano Damiani, Enrico Ribulsi, Sofia Scandurra

MÚSICA Ennio Morricone

FOTOGRAFÍA Franco Di Giacomo

REPARTO Alessio Orano, Ornella Muti, Tano Cimarosa, Joe Sentieri, Enzo Andronico, Amerigo Tot, Pierluigi Aprà, Salvatore Baccaro

PRODUCTORA Explorer Film '58 / Produzioni Atlas Consorziate (P.A.C.)

GÉNERO Drama , Crimen. Mafia

Títulos:

La esposa más bella

La moglie più bella (Italia título original)

A Mulher mais Bela (Portugal)

Seule contre la maffia (Francia)



Sinopsis:

Francesca, una joven siciliana de 15 años, se rebela contra las tradiciones de su pueblo al negarse a un matrimonio de conveniencia. Cuando es secuestrada y violada por el sobrino del poderoso Don del pueblo, sus acusaciones logran enviar al secuestrador a la cárcel. La familia de Francesca teme ahora protegerla por represalias y ella deberá enfrentarse a todos, para lograr conseguir que se haga justicia y ya sólo puede confiar en el jefe de la policía. (FILMAFFINITY)


Comentarios:

... la película está basada en la historia real de Franca Viola, raptada y violada por el mafioso Filippo Melodia. Pocos años después, Damiano Damiani pudo filmar una película basada al pie de la letra en esta historia real, pero a la que cambió todos los nombres y referencias, para que pareciera una historia imaginaria. Cuando Damiani hizo un casting para seleccionar a la protagonista se presentó al set una joven llamada Francesca Romana Rivelli, que apenas había cumplido los 14 años. Iba en compañía de su madre y de su hermana mayor, que quería ser actriz. Damiano Damiani quedó tan impresionado por la pequeña, que la seleccionó entre todas las aspirantes. Le puso por nombre artístico Ornella (por la cantante O. Vanoni) y Muti (por el director de orquesta Riccardo M.)... (Vertigen en cine-clasico)(1)



La moglie più bella è un film del 1970 diretto da Damiano Damiani. Questo film segna l'esordio assoluto nel cinema italiano di Ornella Muti, come attrice protagonista, all'età di soli 14 anni. Il regista è Damiano Damiani, che torna a parlare di Sicilia dopo il successo del film di due anni prima Il giorno della civetta. L'attore Alessio Orano cinque anni dopo l'uscita del film diventerà il marito di Ornella Muti, matrimonio celebrato nel 1975 e durato fino al 1981.

Il film è ambientato in una Sicilia contadina dove regna la legge mafiosa della lupara. Francesca Cimarosa (Ornella Muti), è una ragazza quattordicenne, figlia di contadini, di cui si innamora Vito Juvara (Alessio Orano), mafioso ricco ed in ascesa. I genitori di lei sono orgogliosi di dare al boss la mano della figlia. Lei acconsente a fidanzarsi ma ben presto scopre il maschilismo del fidanzato ed allora si ribella fino a respingerlo del tutto. La reazione di lui è quella di sottoporre la promessa sposa a violenza carnale.

Il fidanzato Vito rispecchia la mentalità di un'arcaica civiltà giuridica italiana, quando il codice penale prevedeva il matrimonio riparatore per annullare il reato di violenza carnale. L'intenzione del mafioso era di far valere fino in fondo il maschilismo e sottoporre la ragazza al disonore basato su consuetudini che la avrebbero condannata alla segregazione se non avesse accettato le nozze con lui.

Invece, Francesca Cimarosa reagisce come la figlia di un'Italia che avanza e che si emancipa da regole crudeli nei confronti della donna. Trova il coraggio di ribellarsi ai genitori succubi delle arcaiche convenzioni, andando da sola dai carabinieri a fare una denuncia. La denuncia della violenza suscita scandalo e stenta ad andare avanti fino a quando non si decideranno a firmarla i genitori. La vittoria della legge non potrà essere totale, a causa dell'omertà e dei falsi testimoni del boss Juvara.

Si racconta che al provino per la scelta dell'attrice che interpretasse Francesca Cimarosa, Ornella Muti si fosse recata solo per accompagnare la sorella più grande che andava a provare, e che il regista Damiano Damiani, colpito dalla sua bellezza, abbia proposto e scelto lei.(2)



TRAMA:

Don Antonino Stella, capo della mafia in un paese siciliano, si lascia arrestare dai carabinieri sicuro di essere assolto al processo. In sua assenza, Vito Juvara, suo prediletto, pensa di continuarne l'opera assumendo verso gli altri tutti gli atteggiamenti del padrone. Egli ha messo gli occhi su Francesca Cimarosa, sedicenne e bella figlia di un povero terremotato, che vive del lavoro dei campi, e si fidanza con lei, ma la ragazza, sotto un aspetto dolce e remissivo nasconde un temperamento fiero ed orgoglioso per cui quando si accorge, dal comportamento di Vito, che questi la considera come un oggetto e non come un essere umano, rompe il fidanzamento. Il fatto è clamoroso e l'ironia nascosta della gente e quella più aperta dei nemici o dei seguaci ferisce l'orgoglio di Vito che, con l'aiuto di tre giovani, rapisce Francesca e la violenta, certo che essa gli chiederà di sposarlo. Ma le cose vanno diversamente: Francesca denuncia Vito alla giustizia che tuttavia non può procedere perché la denuncia non è sottoscritta dai genitori, i quali non avallano l'azione della figlia per paura di Vito, che li ha minacciati di distruggere il loro granaio. Ma la ragazza, con un gesto di assurda ribellione, incendia lei stessa il granaio, togliendo così a Vito ogni possibilità di rivalsa e ai genitori stessi ogni ragione di paura. L'aggressione a Francesca da parte dei complici di Vito e l'atteggiamento coraggioso di un'altra ragazza convincono finalmente i Cimarosa ad agire. Vito e i suoi amici vengono arrestati mentre Francesca piange amaramente sulla sua storia d'amore finita.

CRITICA:


"Imperniato sulla figura di una ragazza, il racconto si sviluppa senza momenti di pausa sostenuto da un linguaggio asciutto ed essenziale, da una appropriata scenografia e da un'atmosfera aderente al contesto sociale cui la vicenda si ispira." ('Segnalazioni cinematografiche', vol. 68, 1970)(3)





The title is deliberately ironic. Damiani's film is based on the true story of a Sicilian woman who was raped in 1965. The rapist was a small time mafioso, and based on the cultural rules that prevailed, the victim would have married her assailant. The woman, Franca Viola, instead pressed charges leading to the conviction of the rapist, going against Sicilian tradition, and became a feminist icon. The fictionalized film is about Viola, but is also about the ingrained traditions in a small town where the mafia has overwhelming influence on everyday life.

The film is also notable as the debut for Ornella Muti in an assured performance that belies her fourteen years. The Most Beautiful Wife is worth seeing just as a document of this preternatural beauty who unsurprisingly became a top star in Italy just a few years later. Much of Muti's performance is in her eyes which convey a sense of understanding of the forces that try to manipulate her into conformity.

On scene in particular conveys the horror that Muti endures. Dragged to what is to be a wedding celebration, she is surrounded by her "fiance" and his mafia family, gorging on food, indifferent to her physical and psychological pain from the rape. There is a brief shot of Muti's parents, sitting alone in a corner, small and afraid. While the rape itself is not depicted, and there is relatively little graphic violence, The Most Beatiful Wife conveys Muti's sense of isolation, and the hostility of her environment.

The DVD comes with a booklet containing for historical background on Franca Viola, as well as the cast and crew. The DVD extras includes interviews with several crew members including Damiani, a director perhaps best known for A Bullet for the General.(4)





Damiano Damiani’s gripping drama The Most Beautiful Wife is based on the true story of Franca Viola, a Sicilian peasant girl raped by a local Mafioso. Local custom demanded that she marry the man in order to uphold her honor, but she refused, and eventually saw him successfully prosecuted. Viola became a feminist icon, and helped to change the societal norms that led to such an appalling tradition. Damiani (A Bullet for the General) stages this drama as part thriller and part social drama, with Ornella Muti (Flash Gordon) in the role of Francesca, the young girl, and Alessio Orano (Lisa and the Devil) as Vito, the young Mafioso who abducts her.

The obvious course would be to turn the film into a tale of social justice, focusing on the horror of the violation, the appalling cultural pressures, the emotions of the girl, and the moral righteousness of her pursuit of justice. All these elements are present on the surface of the story, but Damiani instead chooses an interesting and unorthodox approach to the material. Instead of a middlebrow drama constructed of tired clichés, Damiani creates two very distinct, but in crucial respects similar, personalities in Francesca and Vito, and turns the clash of their powerful wills into the driving force of the story. As a result, The Most Beautiful Wife is engaging from start to finish, and never falls into the trap of the dull “message picture.”


The dominant facet of Francesca and Vito’s characters, and the motivating element of the story, is pride. Vito’s pride is deep-rooted, bordering on psychopathic arrogance. He is a prince of the mafia, and carries himself as such at all times. He does not tolerate insults or competition – a suitor of Francesca’s is quickly warned off with a threat backed up by a gun. Vito is casually vicious, but not an inherently violent or lustful man. His pride is fed by an internal contempt for most of the world. It is not love, nor sexual attraction, that leads him to kidnap Francesca, but rather an acute sense of his position in this little microcosm of a village, and sheer rage and disbelief that Francesca would so offend his pride and status by refusing him.


Francesca’s pride, on the other hand, is considerably less ostentatious but equally deep. Initially, she makes little impression, a pretty but mouse-like girl, flattered and overawed by the flashy and domineering Vito. When he selects her for marriage, it has the air of a fait accompli – he wishes the marriage, thus it shall be. However, when Francesca changes her mind, she digs in her heels and will not be moved. Following her assault, she decides to prosecute Vito and cannot be budged by threats, ostracization, or the warnings of a sympathetic police force (represented by Pierluigi Apra) that her path will be a difficult one. While Vito’s pride grows out of privilege, Francesca’s is of an entirely different nature. In a climactic confrontation Vito realizes his error in foolishly dismissing her – her will is as strong as his own.


This battle of wills only serves to emphasize the essentially non-sexual nature of the focal act of rape. While Vito is attracted to Francesca, and his interest in her is not platonic, he acts out of twisted principle, not lust. He begins seeing her because it is appropriate that a man in his position be wed, and Francesca is “the most beautiful wife.” When she refuses him, he abducts and violates her because it is unthinkable that she would reject him. Damiani, surprisingly and gratifyingly considering the usually prurient camera of Italian genre filmmakers, cuts away from the assault to two of Vito’s loutish associates outside, waiting for “the business” to be over.

In fact, the formalized and ceremonial nature of the act leads to some of the most incongruous scenes ever committed to film. After the rape, Vito escorts his intended bride to a waiting car, where she is congratulated by the matronly owner of the farm to which she was taken. From there, she is driven to a formal reception where Vito’s family greets her as one of their own. Her own parents (including her father, played with impotent fury by Tano Cimarosa), though unhappy, are in attendance. Damiani effectively captures Francesca’s fugue-like state as she is ushered from one appalling situation to another as if in a dream. Throughout, Orano and Damiani subtly but clearly express Vito’s perception of Francesca and women more generally. Until the very end, he sees Francesca only as an object – her opinion is utterly irrelevant.

Damiani shoots throughout in journeyman style, keeping the focus on the drama and the performances. He captures the small town milieu effectively through the use of broad shots of boulevards. The exception to the subdued style is the wildly funky score by the great Ennio Morricone. A mix of his percussive menace from The Untouchables and the unorthodox twangs, plucks and yowls of his famous Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood western scores – it’s extremely engaging and held me glued through the credits. Nonetheless, the true heart of the film lies in on the central performances of Orano and Muti. Muti, in her first major role at the age of 14, is convincing as Francesca, making her more than a victim or an avenging angel. Orano, on the other hand, turns his handsome but extreme features into a cold mask of scorn and contempt. Both help anchor the film, and give it a powerful affect.

Recommended? The Most Beautiful Wife easily ranks as one of NoShame’s best releases so far. Damiano Damiani’s drama/thriller is highly recommended. It’s nice to see that not every good film coming out of Italy has to be an arthouse or genre production.

If you like this, you might like: Two Women, The Great Silence, La Strada, The Leopard, Onibaba, Farewell My Concubine


DVD DETAILS

DVD Production Company: NoShame (www.noshamefilms.com.com)

Release Date: October 31, 2006

Run Time: 108 Mins

Extras:

NoShame’s DVD release of The Most Beautiful Wife is in a nice-looking 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen print. The picture is presented in its original Italian. Extras include a booklet with information on the film, Damiani, and Muti, and a video introduction by director Damiani that plays before the film.

The most significant extra is a lengthy 45 minute featurette on the shooting of the film which includes Damiani, Assistant Director Mino Giarda, editor Antonio Siciliano, Director of Photography Franco di Giacomo, and star Alessio Orano. They discuss the film at length, including the underlying case, the problems of shooting in Sicily, and that one of the reasons for the tasteful rape scene was that Muti was of such a young age. Damiani also comes off as something of a tough customer, tolerating no shenanigans from his youthful stars.(5)


CITAS:

1.- http://terrorfantastico.com/foro/index.php?topic=13875.0

2.- http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_moglie_pi%C3%B9_bella

3.- http://www.comingsoon.it/Film/Scheda/Trama/?key=10225&film=La-moglie-piu-bella

4.- http://www.coffeecoffeeandmorecoffee.com/archives/2006/10/the_most_beauti_1.html

5.- http://www.cinemastrikesback.com/?p=1375



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