LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Spring Summer 2024
Based on “A summer with Joe, Liz & Richard”
“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.”
“I’m just a storyteller, and cinema happens to be my medium. I like it because it recreates life in movement, enlarges it, enhances it, distils it. For me, it’s far closer to the miraculous creation of life than, say, a painting or music or even literature. It’s not just an art form; it’s actually a new form of life, with its own rhythms, cadences, perspectives and transparencies. It’s my way of telling a story.”
When, in 1967, Joseph Losey’s film crew landed in Alghero in search of an ideal set, I was six years old, but I remember it vividly. And over time, the film, the start, the events, the local extras, the gossip, the attempted kidnappings, the mega yacht Kalizma of the star couple, with dogs, children, chefs, captains and sailors in tow, the Bulgari jewels of the Diva, the outfits specially made by Atelier Tiziano with – it seems- a young Karl Lagerfeld, headpieces by Alexander from Paris, food flown in directly from London every day, the abundance of alcohol, the quarrels between the two protagonists, the 186-meter cliff of Capo Caccia, and the stratospheric white villa perched on the tumultuous sea, constantly crashing against the rocks amid the wind, had all taken on an aura of myth.
I recently stumbled upon Sergio Naitza’s docu-film, ‘A summer with Joe, Liz & Richard’, which reconstructs the legendary production of a film destined to become, for better or worse, a great cult. And so, immersed myself in that hot summer where the boundary between reality and fiction, between truth and falsehood, between reconstructed and existing, between acted and revealed, between imaginary and reality, was but a faint breath of wind.
The film BOOM! titled ‘La Scogliera Dei Desideri’ in Italian, adapted from Tennessee Williams’ stage script ‘The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore,’ starring Hollywood icons Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, catapulted Hollywood into the heart of an untouched, pristine, and wild country. As if by magic, from Mount Lee, Hollywood lands near my home, on the edges of the Empire, in the purest and most pristine land in the world. Hollywood on the cliffs of Capo Caccia, Alghero, Sardinia.
How could one not be fascinated by it? I thought that first and foremost, there had to be a Diva, a real Diva, with a capital ‘D,’ one who isn’t created or improvised, a Diva who could expertly portray a world in the vein of Hollywood Babylon, where anything is possible, where a desire is a command, where the unimaginable becomes routine - you just have to think it, write it, and film it. Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson appears, wanders, and hovers. Charm, talent, performance, a Diva between art and life.
“Cinema is neither art, nor a technique, it is a mystery”
(J. L. Godard)