Elsa Martinelli: The Last Interiew
Il Nuovo Corriere
By Stefania Pascucci
July 8, 2017
THE LAST INTERVIEW
Elsa Martinelli: "This cinema does not belong to me"
Elsa Martinelli is one of those characters who left her mark. We met at Lake Sabaudia at the presentation of the book by Nora Corbucci, "Ciak, motore, azione".
A few days ago among the guests at the presentation of Nora Corbucci's book, "Ciak, motore, azione" in the charming setting of Lake Sabaudia at the San Francesco Charming Hotel. She feels like an old-fashioned friend, almost inseparable, so much that she wants to sit next to her at such an important time for the wife/writer of late director Sergio Corbucci. She is Elsa Martinelli, best known for her world of jet set lifestyle and as an iconic Hollywood actress. Instead, she is one of the few Italians among those who have been fortunate to play alongside sacred monsters of American cinema. Italy, however, did not pay tribute to her merits that it should have recognized in those years. It is, however, guilty of an almost general decline in Italian film production, in favor of fictional television. Martinelli in order to continue to act, however, had to emigrate abroad, to France, where filmography - she says - "She resumed fantastically in feature films abroad." The reason? "Our cinematography continues to produce films about Italian provincialism, the average man," and so - of course - they will not go far beyond our borders.
She is a Hollywood star of the world, born as a model discovered by Capucci and then her career took off as did a few Italian actresses in the world of American cinema. She received prestigious awards, she performed with Hollywood sacred icons, but at some point her film experience came to a halt is as if she had stopped too soon.
I'll explain it right away. It's not me that changed, it's the production of cinema that changed. Beyond that, the difficulties came when I decided to live in Italy, it was a big mistake. No Italian production company ever wanted me.
At that time the most important producers were married. De Laurentiis was married to Mangano, Schiaffino was married to Alfredo Bini. Claudia Cardinal with Cristaldi. I worked in Italy only for some directors who fought against the producers for having me in their films. For example, Mauro Bolognini for "La note brava", Risi, Elio Petri. But there were always the others before me. It is also true that when I was chosen my price was high.
In short, cinema, to use a political term, is a caste system.
Yes, all the actresses who had married the producers had more chances.
But she represented a plus value for Italy.
Yes, but it was easier to "push" your wife (of the producer), among other things - I must admit - all good. I have admired her, by Sophia Loren, wife of Carlo Ponti, on down. It was not easy to get into the producers' graces at the time. I worked very well abroad, I shot so many movies in France, so many American films. As a result I was always out of Italy. I was not interested in making movies. I made my major films abroad.
As you know, Italy has been restructured in the world of entertainment by investing huge financial resources in fiction.
I do not care. People do not recognize actors of fiction, except for three or four, they are not recognizable. I did it before it was "fashion". I mention two important "Atelier" and "Pride".
But in recent years we have no longer seen you appearing in anything.
There is nothing I like. They offer parts I do not care about. Also because this movie world ....
It is very "familiar", here it seems to me a very elegant term. Those who belong to the cinema is as if they were part of a community.
Did you always say that?
All the time. And then they want to talk about politics?
Do you think there is a relationship between politics and cinema?
Not in cinema, but in fiction ...
Does politics hinder the actors?
You're on one side or the other. I am apolitical, even though I follow it. In America there are two parties. I have an American education.
Do you live in Italy?
Yes, since the nineties, because my mother had become ill and I took her home to make her last days happy. She has lived to be 98 years, thank God. Then my daughter grew up, went back to Italy, had two daughters and created a family that was also my own.
Let's go back to fiction, at this time It’s the real business of the show.
There are no interesting parts for me, what can I do?
But in front of an important offer what would you say?
Of course yes. An actor never leaves the cinema. But how many have disappeared, that are no longer seen? In comparison, French cinema is better than ours.
It is no coincidence that Monica Bellucci has gone to France to play and there she has found remarkable success that would be foreclosed in Italy. I made fifteen films in France, but I am
not recognized in Italy.