Anna Magnani: cinema’s anti-fascist feminist of the 20th century

Jan 28, 2023 206

BY: Adam Olivo

Federico: This lady coming home, skirting the wall of this ancient patrician palace, is a Roman actress, Anna Magnani, perhaps the symbol of the city. Anna: Who am I? Federico: Rome seen as she-wolf and vestal, aristocratic and ragged, gloomy and buffoonish… I could go on until tomorrow morning. Anna: A Federì [“Federico” in Roman dialect], go to sleep. Federico: Can I ask you a question? Anna: No, I don’t trust you, bye. Good night!

So theatrically Anna Magnani goes down in history at the end of Federico Fellini’s Roma, the film that precedes Amarcord. It was 1973 and, in the 50 years that have passed since, there has been no actress who equaled the greatness of “Nannarella”, the tender diminutive we use for her. Federico had courted her to make that cameo and she’d been resistant–he called her that “wild girl who used to react with arrogance, impudence and distrust.” 

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