Franca Valeri, 100 years of irony
“Every time I delude myself to meet that gentleman I believe is the theatre, I realize that I live the most beautiful illusion of my life,” said Franca Valeri, and it is in this illusion, in this encounter, the secret of his vitality, of his longevity without ever losing contact with the world and its transformations, particularly evident at this moment when he is about to fulfill , on July 31, 100 years, having been born in 1920 in Milan, of good family of Jewish origin. Easy to say, of an artist who immediately after the war the vices, the changes, the weaknesses of a society in great transformation and then decay, remembering that this lady, cultured, ironic, of taste was the first true autonomous female voice of the Italian scene, since her debut in 1948. In ”Bugiarda no, reticent” just before the age of 90: he had written ”Our generation was prepared. Preparation is not only physical strength, and there is no doubt that we are more robust than young people, exercise is above all of a moral gender.’ Then he was still on stage and was about to debut with a new comedy, ”Not Everything Is Solved”, while he publicly campaigned and managed to get the project of a landfill near Villa Adriana cancelled. And while everyone still remembered her as Miss Snob or Sora Cecioni, figures who became popular icons of amazing success and of which she has long felt captive, she liked to point out that at one point they had “recognized Franca Valeri as a writer and author of various books and comedies” and no longer just as a TV comic actress, among other things betrayed on her cultural origins by her own name. , derived from the fine poet French Paul Valery, ”because my father didn’t want me to do theatre”, instead of the original Franca Maria Norsa. And in fact, her greatness was precisely in the sophistication of her humor, as of her satire, able to seduce intellectuals and together to win over the most popular audience, in a path that was born in the post-war period and from his association with Vittorio Caprioli (later her husband) and Valerio Bonucci with whom she gave birth in 1951 to the ”Gobbi”, creators of a chamber magazine entitled ”Carnet des notes” , a new way of doing cabaret with biting satire of Italian society, which was also launched by the overwhelming success achieved in Paris. Her career splits at the beginning, before the commitment with music and lyric, between theater and cinema, which makes her known with the various films of Caprioli (from ‘Lions in the Sun’ to ‘Paris or dear’) and in particular with ‘The Sign of Venus’ of 1955 by Dino Risi, in which she shows off all her theatrical grit, duet with the antagonist Sordi and without being overshadowed by Sophia Loren. But to earn her a place in the anthology of Italian characterists is the extraordinary ordeal alongside Sordi in ‘The Widow’ (1959) as then ”Crimen’ by Camerini in 1960, the year in which in the theater is at the Piccolo in the ‘Maria Brasca’ of Testori, and gradually will also be in author’s shows such as ‘Pea Flower’ by Bourdet, directed by Giuseppe Griffi , and Coburn’s ‘Gin Game’ with Paul Stoppa. In the general public, however, she remains attached to her female characters, masks if you will but not smeared and endowed with their sincere humanity. The popularity came with radio and then TV where it became one of the attractions of the varieties signed by Antonello Falqui. It is the era of the Roman Sora Cecioni, lazy and tacky in its irruption, launched by Studio One and became a small classic, together with the more sophisticated and Milanese Missa Snob, who for her creator “‘was not the figurine of a sketch, but something real and lived in which also shines the tragedy of the snob, that of not being able to adapt to the reality that surrounds it.’ On TV, later, he will also take part in some fiction, from the sitcom with Bramieri ‘Norma and Happy’ until 2000, eighty years old, next to Nino Manfredi in ‘Linda, the Brigadier and…’ about Raiuno. His ironic gaze as an interpreter and witness participates in the changes of Italian society in the second half of the last century will find a high moment of expression when, after a debut in 1961 with ”The catacombs’, pochade that reverses the roles and makes a man a fool and vain protagonist, in the 70s begins to write and interpret his own comedies to which he cares very much , from ‘Lina and the Knight’ to ‘Less Stories’ or ‘Tosca and two others’ (also made film in 2003) and ‘The Socrates Widow’ until ”Not Everything Is Solved” in 2011 and ”The Change of Horses” in 2014 on the illusions and ambiguities of life investigating the relationship and the passage between generations, who see her on stage until she was 94 years old in Spoleto with her partner Urbano Barberini and director Giuseppe Marini , for which she took part in Genet’s challenging ‘Serves’ with Guarneri in 2007, despite the struggle with evil, Parkinson’s disease, which already plagued her. In the meantime, with the usual vitality and curiosity, he had begun seriously to give himself to the music supported by his new partner, the musician Maurizio Rinaldi, both as an opera director and giving life to the competition ‘Battistini’ for young singers. After all, she always remembers that Mom taught her not to celebrate birthdays and to always look ahead, for her always with the desire and nostalgia of the stage: ”Today I’m here at home and not in my natural home, the theater. I don’t act anymore and I almost don’t even understand why. I would still like to repay people’s affection by continuing to work,'” he said not long ago, refusing to self-celebrating, in front of the audience or in an interview, with his eternal self-deprecating optics. (ANSA).