Sangue Bleu

Nino Oxilia

Sog.: Alberto Fassini. Scen.: Guglielmo Zorzi. F.: Giorgino Ricci. Int.: Francesca Bertini (princess Elena of Montvallon), André Habay (Wilson), Angelo Gallina (Prince Egon di Montvallon), Fulvia Perini (countess Simone de la Croix), Anna Cipriani (Diana), Elvira Radaelli, Amedeo Ciaffi. Prod.: Celio Film
35mm. L.: 1308 m. D.: 64′ a 18 f/s. Col.

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



From 1912 to 1914, Celio Films pro duced twenty-five films with Bertini – or more precisely around the presence of her Name, hermystical body, her moodiness (which did not run as deep as the plunging cut of the back of her dresses). Sangue bleu was the actress’spenultimate film for Celio; Negroni had just left, so the staging was by Nino Oxilia, who framed scenes with mouldings of light and hisexquisite esprit de géometrie. Elena (Bertini), the Princess of Montvallon, has a young daughter and a husband; her husband has amistress. Elena discovers the affair: we see her alone, gazing into emptiness, moving forward through the depth of field from the back ofa vast hallway crossed with light – the first of many défilés. The space is a device: as she moves, Elena appears/disappears,emerges/vanishes, struts like a sleepwalker to a close-up, held together by a mere alternation of shadow and light (from the sidewindows). This creature exists temporarily through an intermittent display of flickering, here representing a conflicted state of mind witha painful choice: woman, or mother? When they take little Diana away from her, Bertini is in the foreground, in a pose of anguish (theiconography of mourning). A melodramatic scene that is promptly dramatized – reduplicated en abyme – in Elena’s highly applauded Madama Butterfly finale in a café chantant performance. Blackmailed and forced to dance at a public venue, Bertini smokes haughtily,chooses her partner (a gaucho) and performs all the steps of the shameless dance. (Surely coming from Afgrunden/L’abisso, 1910, by Urban Gad). at the end, according to the script (tango of death), the vilain interrupts the dance armed with a knife: Elena leaves themake-believe scene behind, and stabs herself in the chest. That is what a lady is – sangue bleu. That is what a Diva is – an Italian one.

Michele Canosa

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