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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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THE PASSION OF ANNA MAGNANI: They don't make them like her anymore

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

How can we assess the work of an actor as powerful on screen as Anna Magnani, when mostly what we get are cartoon, caped-crusaders on screen? Good question, but here's a quick answer in this case. THE PASSION OF ANNA MAGNANI is a doc that screened at Cannes 2020 to much acclaim, and literally brings back the emotional exuberance of a gifted entertainer.

Once we, as global audiences, weren't afraid to be 'entertained' by strong emotions and passionate delivery; now we seem to be fed the dregs of punchline dialogue from a candy-colored scenes from rose-coloured pixels, non?

Lol, okay maybe that's OTT (over the top), but who can match the actual cinematic passion of this amazing performer, Anna Magnani? Read on...

From ScreenmancerMHz Choice Announces the premiere of the Cannes documentary THE PASSION OF ANNA MAGNANI for Sept, 15, 2020. Using archival footage, some never-before-seen from Magnani’s family, journalist Orana Fallaci paints a portrait of the Italian actress who became a symbol of neorealism and an icon of the film industry. Filmmaker Enrico Cerasuolo, recounts the life of Anna Magnani, Italy’s great screen legend, who embodied the bare-faced, post-war honesty of Italian neo-realism and became a symbol of the city of Rome itself. AnnaMagnani2

With an indelible catalog of her must-see films and a well-chosen selection of historical interviews, the opinions of Marlon Brando, Luchino Visconti, Federico Fellini, Sophia Loren and Ingrid Bergman, offer  different perspectives on Magnani’s complex personality, her nonconformity, strength and courage. Anna Magnani’s blend of fiery passion, earthy humor, and unvarnished naturalism made her the symbol of postwar Italian cinema.

Launched to worldwide superstardom through her indelible turn in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City, Anna running down a street and gunned down by Nazi’s became the symbol of a new type of cinema that described the real world. As an actress she transforms the representation of women in cinema by embodying something different from the glamour of those which came before and after her. Equally adept at drama and comedy, she could harness her explosive emotional intensity to move an audience to laughter, tears, or both at once.

The Master Class in Emotional Magnetism from Anna Magnani



The film highlights the actress’s illustrious international career, including powerhouse performances for directors like Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti (Bellissima), Pier Paolo Pasolini (Mamma Roma), Federico Fellini (L’amore and Roma), Sidney Lumet (The Fugitive Kind), George Cukor (Wild Is the Wind), William Dieterle (Volcano), Mario Monicelli (The Passionate Thief), and Jean Renoir (The Golden Coach). 

Magnani was awarded an Academy Award in 1956 for The Rose Tattoo, a role Tennessee Williams wrote especially for her (the only Italian actress to win with an English-speaking film to this day). However Hollywood wasn't where she did her best work, as the industry tried in vain to pin a stereotype on her that didn't suit her fiery and volcanic personality. Anna Magnani was an independent woman, a single mother, tied to the city of Rome and with a unique and unprecedented modernity before her time. 

And the Oscar Goes to... 



How Her Work Was Judged by Creatives Worldwide

“She wasn’t like other actresses. She was an inventive talent, an inexhaustible source of ideas, and her directors had to accept some of them.”Jean Renoir

“The greatest actress we ever had.”Marcello Mastroianni 

“The spirit of Italy." - Tennessee Williams

“Anna Magnani is the greatest actress I’ve ever seen.” - Bette Davis

THE PASSION OF ANNA MAGNANI 1 x 60'| DOCUMENTARY | ITALIAN | RAI COM Director-screenwriter: Enrico Cerasuolo Producers: Massimo Arvat, Estelle Fialon Director of photography: Marco Pasquini Editor: Marco Duretti Music: Cristiano Lo Mele

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MHz Networks offers viewers access to a library of the best television mysteries, dramas, comedies and documentaries subtitled in English through its subscription streaming service, MHz Choice. Select MHz Networks content is also available on DVD and on its free ad-supported service MHz Now available on Samsung TV Plus. New MHz Choice customers receive a free 7-Day Trial. For more info, go visit here.

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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

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