Edoardo Bencivenga

Int.: Sandrina Albertini-Bianchi (Pierrot), Anna Cipriani, Cia Fornaroli, Enna Saredo. Prod.: Caesar Film 35mm. L.: 947 m. D.: 46’ a 18 f/s. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Continuing the gender-bending theme, we present L’anello di Pierrot in which the actress Sandrina Albertini-Bianchi stars as Pierrot. Pierrot had been a stock character in Commedia dell’Arte and pantomime since the 18th century, and the portrayals had evolved from a kind of slapstick sad clown to a more sensitive ingenue over the years. A favourite role of great actresses, since Sarah Bernhardt’s interpretation of Pierrot assassin in 1893, film Divas like Stacia Napierkowska (Le Miracle des fleurs, 1912) and Francesca Bertini (Storia di un Pierrot, 1913) created memorable film Pierrots making the cross-dressing clown a legitimate but mostly-forgotten subgenre. With Albertini-Bianchi in the lead her complex performance will leave even a modern viewer confounded as to where exactly the ‘F’ ends and the ‘M’ begins – or whether that actually matters. Is she even trying to convince the audience of her assumed gender, let alone the other characters in the story? Did she just kiss a girl – and like it – in 1917? What is going on?
By contrast, the actual story of the L’anello di Pierrot is simple and straightforward. The penniless Pierrot has to leave his home to raise money for his family. Out in the world, he falls in love with a nobleman’s daughter, wins and then loses a fortune, and finally contemplates suicide, before returning home just as broke as the day he left. It’s only when he’s back, a simple hardworking man in the bosom of his family, that he finds real happiness. L’anello di Pierrot is more than a quirky curiosity. The production is so accomplished and the performances so nuanced, it feels like we’ve unearthed a genuine masterpiece whose reappearance on the big screen is long overdue. Prepare to be dazzled by the authenticity and realism, and disarmed by the charming simplicity. Not for the first time, it seems like the greatest art lies in the most extreme naivety.

Karl Wratschko

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