Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 18:15


Augusto Genina


Saturday 01/07/2017


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

If Maddalena is one of the high points of Fifties melodrama (to be viewed, perhaps, in parallel with L’angelo bianco), Genina’s real spiritual testament is Frou-Frou, shot by the now-ailing director from a screenplay by A.E. Carr, Cécil Saint-Laurent and Marc-Gilbert Sauvajon with the collaboration of Alessandro De Stefani. Now completely forgotten and difficult to see, Genina’s last film is like a summation of the poetics of a director who made his debut in the 1910s and experienced the Belle époque first-hand. The recreation of the life of a courtesan and man-eater who does not find happiness, the film is actually a sincere elegy to her nostalgic and libertine spirit, which perhaps recalls certain films by Renoir or Clair of the period. The world it describes is filtered through the hazy recollections of imperfect memory: in order to make time difference stand out, the whole story is told in flashback by the protagonist to her daughter, a typical child of the Fifties. There are many points in common with ‘Middle European’ films of the period, above all Ophüls’ Lola Montès. However, despite the appeal of the historical reconstruction (Henri Alekan’s colour CinemaScope cinematography is beautiful), the central character is little more than a means of transporting the spectator into brightly coloured worlds, and the filmmaker’s taste for affectionate and impressionistic scenes works against any deeper sense of melancholy. The best moments derive from the secondary male figures: Mischa Auer’s monologue relating how he lost his money investing in foreign currency is particularly memorable. Surprising, in the original version, is the scene of an orgy in 18th century costumes featuring topless girls, which is then crossed with a mambo.

Emiliano Morreale

Cast and Credits

T. alt.: Perduta per amore. Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Cecil Saint-Laurent. Scen.: A.E. Carr, Cécil Saint-Laurent, Marc-Gilbert Sauvajon, Alessandro De Stefani. F.: Henri Alekan. M.: Mario Russo, Suzanne Rondeau. Mus.: Louiguy. Int.: Dany Robin (Antonietta ‘Frou Frou’), Gino Cervi (principe Vladimiro Petrovic), Philippe Lemaire (Paolo Artus), Jean Wall (Sabatier), Louis de Funès (colonnello Cousinet Duval), Mischa Auer (granduca Alexis), Ivan Desny (Henri de Gaspard), Isabelle Pia (Michela), Marie Sabouret (granduchessa Anna Ivanovna), Umberto Melnati (Dubois). Prod.: Albert Caraco per Cinefilms-Italgamma-Films, Gamma Film. 35mm. D.: 112’. Col.