Romy Schneider used to say that she owed everything to Luchino Visconti.
The actress, born in Vienna in 1938 and died in Paris 43 years later, referred to him as the director of
knew how to see in her something more than
's beautiful girl,
the trilogy about Empress Elizabeth of Austria with whom at the end of the 1950s she fell in love with the world, first, and then with Alain Delon.
In 1961, Delon and Schneider were the sweethearts of Europe and Visconti, encouraged by the French actor, brought them together in the play
Too bad she's a whore,
by the Elizabethan playwright John Ford (yes, he was called after the great genius of cinema) , about an incestuous love that ended in blood.
The meeting of the heiresses of the great love story of Alain Delon and Romy Schneider
Neither Delon nor Schneider had ever been on stage, but the play was such a success that those who saw them still remember that perfect couple streaking through the Paris Theater.
Visconti said that he only accepted the work to work with both and to vindicate through them the most unleashed passions.
The old communist aristocrat knew a lot about these things.
Romy Schneider in one of her films as Sissi.
Romy Schneider has been for a few months and until July 31 the center of a major exhibition at La Cinémathèque Française and now, at the Cannes festival, the documentary
Romy, mujer libre,
by Lucie Caries, has been premiered, in addition to being screened yesterday same the film
of the Austrian Marie Kreutzer.
Played by the great actress Vicky Krieps (
The invisible thread, Old, Bergman's Island
) the film explores the rebellion and decadence of Elizabeth of Austria.
A smoking and heroin addicted Sissi, fed up with men and the world, obsessed with her weight and her public image, capricious, who tattoos her body, with suicidal impulses and closer to her dogs and horses than to most humans.
Kreutzer's psychological portrait plays on those anachronisms that Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette inaugurated with a pop soundtrack, the occasional extemporaneous object and an enveloping staging that takes advantage of the scars of the past in the palaces where the film was shot. movie.
Romy, free woman
maybe it's not a great documentary, but it doesn't matter.
It has a lot of little-known material and anyone could spend hours looking at photos and interviews with a woman whose naturalness and photogenicity remain unmatched.
"Looking at myself in the mirror bores me," she says in one of the best moments of the film Romy Schneider, a woman in whose face the old and the new Europe merged like never before.
So much so that a palate as refined and complex as Visconti's could not ignore it.
Schneider's parents were actors and following in her footsteps was more than just a calling for her.
It was a necessity.
Both supporters of Hitler, she even appears in home movies alongside the Führer.
They vacationed nearby and Magda Schneider was one of Hitler's favorite actresses.
When the war ended
Romy's parents lost their jobs and only over the years were they able to recover from the stigma.
It was her mother who encouraged her to act alongside her.
Both would play mother and daughter in the trilogy of
Soon the branch eclipsed the tree, and her role as empress of hers made her a popular icon of the late 1950s.
Alain Delon and Romy Schneider, in 'The Pool' (1969), by Jacques Deray.
Non-conformist and, as the documentary insists, profoundly free, the actress soon felt the need to fly and change the scene.
She happened to him over and over again during her life.
When she lands in Paris, her career takes a radical turn.
She meets Delon, then not as famous as her, and the clash of classes leads to a stormy relationship that only over the years will revert to a new complicity sealed with
the Jacques Deray film that would bring them together in 1969 thanks to the insistence of the French actor.
Schneider was always outspoken and never hid his family's Nazi past.
Moreover, it was one of his most intense crusades.
He spoke about it publicly and in his extensive filmography, more than sixty films, he insisted on participating in films about the Holocaust.
Her work under the direction of Claude Sauset in the late sixties and early seventies were the ones that best shaped her career and that profile of a liberated woman who did not marry anyone, and that included the feminist movements.
She had husbands and lovers, she never felt Austrian, German or French, and, never losing her dazzling smile, she did her best to do as she pleased.
The parallels with Sissi followed her like a fatal fate.
Elizabeth of Austria will always be linked to Schneider's most childish face, but Marie Kreutzer's film points to the same dark area that Visconti portrayed in
(1973), where the actress took up the historical character also in his decadence.
Idealized for her beauty, she went down in history as a very controversial figure for her excesses and for her fight with her own body.
is a 40-year-old woman humiliated by her age and by a change in her physiognomy that she punishes with the corset of the title.
The death of her eldest daughter when she was a baby and her son Rodolfo de Ella, heir to the crown, in strange circumstances (it was also speculated with a suicide) plunged her into a chronic depressive state. .
Something that Romy Schneider unfortunately also knew well after the atrocious accident suffered by her son David.
Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider, in 'Max and the junkmen'.getty
Harry Meyen, Schneider's first husband, had committed suicide in 1979. He also suffered from chronic depression stemming from the torture he had suffered as a young man by the Nazis.
In July 1981, at the age of 14, their son, whom they named David in honor of the Jewish people, was climbing through a fence of his house in Paris when he slipped with the fatal fate of leaving his body pierced by the metal.
He bled to death.
The life of the actress was since then dynamited.
Hooked on pills, with mental and alcohol problems impossible to fight, Ella Schneider died in her house on May 29, 1982, 40 years ago now.
Whether or not it was a suicide was never entirely clear, although the official version was a heart attack.
In her latest film,
Testimony of a Woman,
The actress asked for a dedication to appear: "For David and his father."
Sissi, who sought a mistress for her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph, to avoid her marriage obligations, wandered around the end of her life with a black veil covering her face.
An anarchist randomly assassinated her in Geneva on September 10, 1898 with a stiletto so fine that the empress thought it was just a scare and she followed her path for hours without caring.
An hour later, boarding a ferry, her corset was already soaked in blood.
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