Fri. Apr 3rd, 2020

Lucia Bosé, the distant nymph

The life of Lucía Bosé, who died of a coronavirus at 89, was not exactly conventional. Few actresses of her generation could be proud of having been discovered by Luchino Visconti himself. In a Milanese pastry shop, where she was serving as a saleswoman, a man predicted that she would end up working in the cinema. “You are a cinematic animal,” he snapped. She had not yet won the title of Miss Italy and did not suspect what that man – communist aristocrat, exalted director, opera lover and future godfather of his son Miguel – would mean for his existence. It was Visconti who recommended it to Giuseppe di Santis, who would give him his first role in “Non c’è pace tra gli ulivi” (1950), a late example of a rapturous neorealism that was beginning to languish in the splendid Italian cinema of the fifty. It was Visconti, too, who convinced Antonioni to hire her as the bourgeois protagonist of “Chronicle of a Love” (1950). In theory, her 19 years made her little credible to play a married woman in crisis. In practice, he sat chair. What did the refined Visconti see in the beauty of the Bosé to make him an improvised agent? At a time when Gina Lollobrigida-style “maggioratas” were frequent, Bosé offered a grim, sophisticated elegance that was more in keeping with auteur cinema that he would end up frequenting than with the romantic comedies he had to perform early in his career. If Antonioni had not seen in her an anticipation of the introspective, anguished actress, who, in her cinema of the sixties, would be played by Jeanne Moreau and Monica Vitti, she would not have counted on her, again, in “The Lady without Camellias” (1953) . What brought her to Spain was, precisely, the repetition of that distant and neurotic Antonionian character in “Death of a Cyclist” (1955). The Buñuel of “Así es la Aurora” was one step away. She was, therefore, a modern actress ahead of her time who froze her talent for eleven years – the ones that lasted her marriage to Luis Miguel Dominguín – in a country, Francoist Spain, which was behind schedule.. That is why when he separated, the list of filmmakers with whom he worked belonged fully to that of the cinema that had broken with the classic schemes. From Pere Portabella (“Nocturnal 29”) to Fellini (“Satyricon”), from the Taviani (“Under the sign of the Scorpio”) to Marguerite Duras (“Nathalie Granger”), Bosé took that distant nymph look that charmed us so much , from the other side of death, as a vampire thirsty for youth (Countess Bathory), in «Bloody Ceremony».


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