Sunday, January 23, 2011

La Noia (1963)

There were over a dozen film adaptations of Alberto Moravia novels made in the nineteen-sixties (the most famous being Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt" and Vittorio De Sica's "Two Women"), and while I would be hard-pressed to call "La Noia" a faithful or even apt adaptation of Moravia's spectacular novel, it's an interesting drama that communicates a painful and impossibly mortal situation rather well.

Horst Buchholz plays a depressive, bored, angry aspiring painter from a wealthy family living "poor" in the city, waving the "artist" flag and waiting for inspiration. Living in the room across the hall is a successful seventy year-old painter who is visited daily by a young model played by Spaak, who immediately captures Horst's interest in the opening scene when he sees her from his window. After the elderly painter dies, Horst discovers Spaak moving some of her things out of the apartment and he introduces himself. Not a few minutes pass before they become lovers, and the bulk of what plays out is their heated sexual relationship and Horst's inability to deal with her subsequent promiscuity and lies. A very tough story. The ending rings true, and it's a scene I've been through myself.

Beautifully-shot with good performances all around, "La Noia" contains some of the most iconic moments in Catherine Spaak's career, including a scene where her nude body is covered with money (an image that pre-dates a similar scene in Mario Bava's popular "Danger: Diabolik") and an amazing crane shot of her dancing to a Rita Pavone song on an outdoor patio against a lovely scenic view.

1 comment:

  1. Director Damiano Daminani is dead on 7th march 2013 in Roma.
    Nice blog on beautiful and delicious Miss Spaak.