Sex, Nazis and da Vinci: The hidden history of Italian rice

Mar 06, 2021 728

BY: Julia Buckley

It was the movie that added sex appeal to the gritty neorealist film period and made a star out of actress Silvana Mangano. "Riso Amaro" ("Bitter Rice"), featured women wearing daring shorts with ripped stockings tramping through water, girl-on-girl mud-wrestling, and Mangano's ample cleavage in everything from tight t-shirts to a negligee.

The film, a neorealist thriller-slash-tragedy, saw a criminal couple infiltrate the rice fields in Italy's Piedmont region, and ticked off gun fights and a rice heist. Trust the Italians to make farming sexy, you could say. But despite all the cleavage shots, "Bitter Rice" threw the spotlight on a job that had been, until then, thankless.

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