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Sophia Loren

Mother Love

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- Between Strangers, directed by her son, Edoardo, is Sophia Loren's 100th film and she celebrates this milestone in her career in Venice

Sophia Loren

Simplicity personified. The attention of the world’s press at the press conference for Between Strangers-Cuori estranei [+see also:
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, was all for Sophia Loren. The film, screened out of competition at Venice 59, is the directorial debut of Loren’s son, Edoardo and was co-produced by Italy’s Mediatrade and Capri Films with a stellar cast that includes Mira Sorvino, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Malcolm McDowell, Gérard Depardieu and Deborah Kara Unger. Loren, 68, was accompanied by British actor, Peter Postethwaite, who plays her emotionally and physically crippled husband in Between Strangers, and by the producer, Gabriella Martinelli.

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Tell us who the real Olivia is?
She a very calm woman, solitary, closed up in herself. Her husband neglects her, treats her like an object and she does nothing to dissuade him because, for the last 30 years, she’s been hiding a secret from him. The character of Olivia is enriched by many experiences. Over the years my acting has improved and become more sincere and mature. When preparing for this film I looked deep into my heart.

What was it like to be directed by your son?
Working with your son is very emotional and moving. When I saw him on the set, behind the camera, I was struck by the fact that I had given him life. Here he was, this person I’d given birth to, guiding me and giving me direction in the sweetest way possible. I felt protected and trusted him because my instincts told me that he was looking after me. At times we had discussions but the relationship on the set was excellent. Edoardo is an intelligent young man with good principles.

What did you think after reading Edoardo’s screenplay for the first time?
As I read, I also began acting out the part and that was when I knew I would play Olivia. This is a vibrant and highly emotional story that I felt at home with. We had a very serene set, and that is thanks to Edoardo who knew exactly what he wanted. This film also gave me the opportunity to discover qualities and aspects of my character that I wasn’t previously aware of.

Was your role reminiscent of the melancholy housewife you played in Ettore Scola’s Un Giorno Particolare?
It was. Both women share some sentiments but I did not play that character. Edoardo wanted me to play a woman who finally finds the courage to be herself, after enduring lots of suffering.

You worked with the same make-up artist as Un Giorno Particolare who aged you in a soft and skillful way...
The make-up, dialogue and colours are all there to give the impression of a face that’s been lived in, slightly washed out and sad. The signs of a lost life. The cinematographers also contributed to creating these effects. Olivia’s faces shows the suffering she’s endured.

What do you feel about the news that you will receive the Pietro Bianchi Award?
I am very happy. I shall put it between my two Oscars. This is also an opportunity for me to celebrate my 100th film. It’s very emotional for me to return to Venice after such a long time. Venice is where I first came to prominence, in The Black Orchid.

What are your future projects?
I’m working on two or three projects. When you reach my age it’s difficult to find parts that suitable, sensitive and mature. I decided to avoid becoming a caricature of myself and repeat roles I’ve already played. In the spring I’m starting work on Lina Wertmuller’s The House of Geraniums.

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