Gina Lollobrigida, the iconic actress who recently passed away at the age of 95, was known for causing a sensation whenever she visited the Venice Film Festival. Her presence was so captivating that it would be nearly impossible to underestimate the excitement she generated amongst the attendees.
One of Lollobrigida’s visits to the festival was described vividly by journalist Oriana Fallaci in an article for L’Europeo magazine. In 1956, the actress arrived at the festival, causing a commotion amongst the crowd. Fallaci wrote, “A roar rose up from the crowd. The metal barricades risked snapping like twigs, the 156 policemen trying to hold back all those bodies were on the verge of being overwhelmed by the crush. Gina alighted from a taxi…The photographers rushed towards her…All of this took place at 10 in the evening on…the day of the inauguration of the 17th Film Festival, also known as Lollo’s Festival, for the heroine of our time.”
In an interview with Eilidh Hargreaves of The Daily Telegraph, Lollobrigida reminisced about a similar incident that occurred in 1962. She recalled, “Before we could even dock [at the Lido], we narrowly missed being hit by another boat, loaded with photographers trying to capture my arrival. I was standing up and almost fell into the water when the cameras started flashing all around me.”
Even in recent years, the spirit of Lollobrigida continued to dominate the festival. This year, the festival paid tribute to her by dedicating its pre-opening night to the actress. They screened a restored version of Orson Welles’ 27-minute documentary, “Portrait of Gina,” and Mario Soldati’s 1953 drama, “La provincial” (also known as “The Wayward Wife”), based on the novel by Alberto Moravia. Interestingly, Lollobrigida herself was present as a guest of honor during the first screening of Welles’ film at the festival in 1958. However, feeling that the documentary portrayed her as too ambitious, she took legal action that resulted in it being relegated to obscurity until now.
Lollobrigida’s impact on the Venice Film Festival goes beyond just her glamorous presence. Her contributions to the world of film are noteworthy as well. She starred in numerous acclaimed films throughout her career, establishing herself as one of the leading actresses of her time. Her performances showcased her versatility, from comedic roles to dramatic ones.
Lollobrigida paved the way for Italian actresses in Hollywood and played a pivotal role in promoting Italian cinema internationally. She became a symbol of Italian beauty and talent, captivating audiences around the world with her magnetic performances. Her fame and popularity reached its peak during the 1950s and 1960s when she was at the height of her career.
Aside from her acting prowess, Lollobrigida was also known for her beauty and fashion sense. She was considered a style icon and influenced many with her elegant and sophisticated looks. Her glamorous presence at the Venice Film Festival undoubtedly added to the allure and excitement of the event.
In conclusion, Gina Lollobrigida’s visits to the Venice Film Festival were always highly anticipated and created a buzz amongst attendees. Her immense popularity and influence extended far beyond the silver screen. She will forever be remembered as a legendary actress who left an indelible mark on the world of film and the cultural landscape of Italy. Her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of actresses and film enthusiasts alike.