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The Leading Ladies of Italian Cinema At BAM

Friday, July 6------As the thermometer rises amid a July haze, the temperatures of moviegoers is also on the ascendant as the Brooklyn Academy of Music presents the white heat emanating from some of Italian cinema's sexiest and most seductive performers. SIGNORE & SIGNORE: Leading Ladies of Italian Cinema, which begins today at the BamCinematek, presents a fabulous array of talents, from international superstars to sultry temptresses to fast-talking firebrands. These are actresses who don't need two names.....they are known by a single one: the fiery Magnani (Anna), the innocent Masina (Giulietta), the seductive Cardinale (Claudia) and, of course, the enchanting Loren (Sophia). The BAM series will present both their best known works and some films that have not been seen in New York in decades, and includes some lesser known Italian screen sirens who made hearts skip a beat in their heydays.

Ornella MutiOrnella MutiStefania SandrelliStefania SandrelliThe series begins today with I KNOW YOU SO WELL (1965), featuring Stefania Sandrelli as a young girl from the countryside is seduced by the temptations of the big city. Though Sandrelli (known for her role in Bernardo Bertolucci's THE CONFORMIST) would go on to become an Italian sex symbol, her performance here is a masterpiece of crushed innocence and slow-building helplessness. Also screening this weekend are THE BISHOP'S BEDROOM (1975), directed by Dino Risi and starring Ornella Muti and Ugo Tognazzi. Muti will appear at the screening on Saturday evening and will co-sign the book of SIGNORE & SIGNORE by series curator Piera Detassis. Sunday's feature stars Mariangela Melato in her unforgettable turn as a bourgeoise bitch opposite Giancarlo Giannini's everyman in Lina Wertmuller's 1972 satire SWEPT AWAY (the role that Madonna reprised to great derision in the 1990s).

Alida ValliAlida ValliSophia LorenSophia LorenOther anticipated films in the series include:  OLD-FASHIONED WORLD (1941), a costume drama starring the international beauty Alida Valli  BREAD, LOVE AND DREAMS (1953), starring a young Gina Lollobrigida (she of the much admired mammaries); BELLISSIMA (1951), director Lucino Visconti's probing drama of stage mothers starring the incomparable Anna Magnani; JULIET OF THE SPIRITS (1965), an Oscar-winning surrealist satire by Federico Fellini starring his wife and muse Guilietta MasinaTHE GIRL WITH THE SUITCASE (1960), featuring siren Claudia Cardinale as a nightclub singer who pursues and is eventually abandoned by a wealthy man; and TWO WOMEN (1960), the highly dramatic World War II drama by Vittorio De Sica that won its star Sophia Loren her only Oscar (and the only time a woman had won the top award for a film in a non-English language).

 If the sidewalks aren't hot enough for you, come experience the sizzle coming from the screen over the next four weeks. For more information on this and other BamCinematek programs, visit their website at:

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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