Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Assunta Spina/The Last Diva|
Actors: Francesca Bertini, Gustavo Serena, Carlo Benetti, Luciano Albertini, Amelia Cipriani
Directors: Francesca Bertini, Gustavo Serena, Gianfranco Mingozzi
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
A great silent.
Marco Cagetti | Charlottesville, VA United States | 01/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Francesca Bertini was the first diva of Italian movies. She portrays Assunta Spina, a Neapolitan woman in love with the passional Michele. The acting is wonderful (and incidentally, much less exagerated than the usual acting in most silent movie), almost realistic - and the movie itself is shot in the streets and houses of Naples. A gem.Equally interesting is the included documentary, with scenes from other movies and an interview with the old Bertini, in which she watches and comments the movie (sometimes filling in the lines for the silent scenes). In the interview, she plays the role of the aging diva, but joking about it at the same time. Highly informative for lovers of silent movies, and highly entertaining."
A Lovely Italian Classic
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 08/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is another excellent double feature KINO release, this time with the spotlight on Italy's first great film star, Francesca Bertini, who made 100 films in her 12-year film career starting in the 1910s. "Assunta Spina" was made in 1914 and filmed in Naples, and like films from that time, it has a title card to introduce a scene, there is not much to read overall, and there was little camera movement nor any close-ups. This does not take anything away from the quality of this film, however. In fact, the fascinating street and outdoor scenes around Naples, and the more natural acting style make it feel like you are watching a real-life drama unfold before your very eyes. Although there is little actual pantomime acting in this film, there is enough natural Italian passion and gesticulation to show each character's emotions perfectly!
"Assunta Spina" is a tragic story about love, jealousy and guilt. The picture quality has a few rough patches, but that is made up by wonderful musical accompaniment. A lot of research and love went into the new musical score for this film, such as finding suitable music from that time period, early last century, and it is played beautifully on piano, violin, cello and clarinet. A treat for the music lover, and surely a great asset to this charming Italian silent classic.
The second feature on this DVD is a 1982 Italian TV documentary about Francesca Bertini, with the main focus being on "Assunta Spina" and her thoughts and comments on it as she watched a screening of it. Unfortunately, it is all in Italian with English sub-titles, but that shouldn't be a problem for those who are used to reading intertitles in silent films! It is most interesting to hear (or read, unless you're Italian) Bertini's comments, and amazing that she remembers things so vividly at such an advanced age. There are scenes from some other surviving films, and generally the documentary presents a good overview of her and Italian cinema in the 1910s.