The Lady Without Camelias (La Signora Senza Camelie)


(out of 5)

Exploration of the big bad world of moviemaking, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and starring  as a gorgeous ingénue at the mercy of the bossy men around her.  On the cusp of becoming a huge star, Bose is pulled away from acting by a filmmaker husband who wants to keep her at home as a housewife, but then puts her in a production of Joan Of Arc that destroys careers and finances and leads to the dissolution of their relationship.  She goes to make her way back into the business but, as a pretty face who is not taken in any way seriously as an actress, realizes that the industrial monster that created her is also going to use her up and throw her away.  Antonioni’s screenplay is not a sarcastic or shallow view of studio politics, the characterizations of the business of hypocrisy are actually quite deeply felt and the dialogue intelligent, but sadly there’s just no life to it at all.  Beautiful images of characters against the auteur’s now-familiar obsession with stunning architectural set-ups give the terrific cast a rich visual playing field against which to enact their drama, but the long sequences devoted to the ennui of ambition unfulfilled have no resonance and, bereft as it is of the actual work of making films, it is just plain boring.

Produzioni Domenico Forges Davanzati, Ente Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche

Italy/France, 1953

Directed by

Story by Michelangelo Antonioni, Screenplay by Michelangelo Antonioni,

Cinematography by Enzo Serafin

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Film Editing by



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