Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Love Makers

Jean-Paul Belmondo with Mauro Bolognini director of La Viaccia (The Love Makers)  
Photographs by Giuseppe Palmas, Rome, November 1960

Claudia Cardinale, Jean-Paul Belmondo

"... Best known for his passionate interest in the Italian social scene,” writes Jerry Vermilye, “Bolognini has acquired a reputation as a stylist whose films occasionally offer more surface glitter than substance.” Ironically, the film under scrutiny here is the 1961 melodrama La Viaccia (The Love Makers). A turn-of-the-century tale of a naïve country boy (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and his obsessive passion for a heartless prostitute (Claudia Cardinale), it shows an incisive social criticism and a wrenching emotional impact that make nonsense of Vermilye's claim. 

Viewed lucidly and without prejudice, La Viaccia (like any one of a dozen Bolognini films) is enough to establish its director as a poet of sexual and romantic disenchantment. With the exception of Kenji Mizoguchi and Max Ophuls, perhaps no other filmmaker has captured so fully that quality which the Spanish writer Ramon del Valle-Inclan called “the melancholy of sex, seed of the great human sadness.”  Indeed, a steady diet of Bolognini's films may drive the viewer to a state of romantic despair commensurate with the director's own troubled sexual life.

Tellingly, the world of Mauro Bolognini is one of powerful and passionate women – monstres sacres who thrive at the expense of weak and malleable men. The typical Bolognini heroine lives by violating all the most sacred taboos of Italy's conservative Roman Catholic society..."

Mauro Bolognini by David Melville, August 2006

Source:  Senses of Cinema 
Image source: BarEden - nonsoloblog  and  Toutlecine

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