Bellissima, a film made by Luchino Visconti in 1951, concerns the fate of a young girl who isn't pretty enough. The adults around her think it's perfectly OK to publicly judge children in this way -- maybe because it was so long ago and people were very, very backwards in that era. Good thing we don't do that anymore, right? The film screens this evening as part of Remembering Anna Magnani, a series honoring one of the grandes dames of Italian cinema. In Bellissima, Magnani plays the little girl's pushy mother, but usually she plays a complicated, sympathetic, insane whore. For example, the September 9 film is Mamma Roma, a 1962 Pier Paolo Pasolini feature about a woman trying to outrun her shady past, probably the quintessential complicated, sympathetic, insane whore movie. And why do we love Magnani so much? In addition to having worked with, "enjoyed," and entranced men from Tennessee Williams to Marcello Mastroianni and Roberto Rossellini, she's known to have said, "Women like me can only submit to men capable of dominating them, and I have never found anyone capable of dominating me." Bellissima starts at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. Starts: Aug. 19. Continues through Sept. 16, 2008