We need to take a step backward, make a flashback from the memories of that year, 1974, the year when I had lost my sister Halina, to recover the last episodes of life not yet told. That life that, shortly, would have slipped out of my fingers in the ineluctability of a fate against which I should have fight to win my emancipation and regenerate me with a new identity. There would have come in very useful all those occasions of growth that, since the most tender age, have accompanied the path of each of us.
Having been married with Carlo only for one year I lived, day by day, my existence without any consciousness: I let me be dragged by emotions and desires, inhebriated with freedom and I tried nowhere near to examine what was the uneasiness hidden in the deep of my heart.
What the gnawing that consumed it from inside and was stopping me from building an existence nearly as if there wasn’t another one worthy to exist, besides the one that was cheated to me as a young girl.
My parents’ separation had left a bad sign and the abandonment, suffered after their separation, hadn’t been bridged in the years.
Human being were unpredictable, irresponsible and,…if there had been, towards me, they who had given birth to me… of course were all the other! The abandonment, the refusal, the alienation were for me synonyms of the same word: loneliness.
Just before… the bee
I remember, when I was really a child, one summer spent in the mountains, at Monesi, by my father Ingo: I should have been nearly seven years old. At least this is the age that appears from the photo I have because, as far as I am concerned, I’ve always lived in the year zero, in the sense that memories flow, for me, horizontal as in the proceeding of a parade seen from the high and the method with which I analyse them is always the same, were I at the beginning of my life or the day before yesterday!
I had come to visit my father, that year, in the hotel in the mountains built by him with my mother and managed with his new partner, the former nurse of my cousins.
The small structure had been built entirely in wood, on the stairs were red stairs carpets on which I loved to sit to look at the course of life inside it.
On the clearing in front of it stood out a pennon with the italian flag and, all around, was a glory of flowers. There were a lot of plants of coloured daisies, and many blossomed stork’s bills…one morning, while I was playing thoughtlessly with those flowers’ corollas a bee stung me!
The surprise was so big in knowing such an unexpected pain that I closed my hand in a fist and begun crying desperately.
Life had reserved me a new pain just when I was enjoying its magnificence.
I cried and cried, hours and hours…till the evening continuously.
Nobody was able to make me open my hand; the pain, that was only mine, and, at least in that it should remain, mixed with the pain felt for my father’s loss that, the night before, had left me going to sleep, in the room next to mine, at once reached by whom that somebody had taught me to call “tata”. Once alone I had tried to eavesdrop at the plywood wall that divided us to then go in, taken my courage, in their room and… alone now I hold, in my closed little hand, my pain.
My father was despaired, both for the torture of having heard me crying for eight hours, and because unconsciously he perceived, but didn’t understand, the greater trouble.
It was a sententious expression, told by her, to unblock the situation… sometimes the spite expressed by others is lapidary! She told: “ Take her to the hospital so they’ll cut away her hand and she’ll have a reason to cry”…
I rose my eyes towards them and, contemporarily opening my little hand, I sarted with an angel smile:
“ It doesn’t hurt me any more!”
Here is why, maybe, after this unhappy event, in 1973 I lived in an absolutely unaware manner and I wasn’t able to give a real value to any person next to me, for fear of loosing them.
Fear is that feeling that put us in condition of preclude us just the object of our wish. Fear is irrational, chaotic and take us to loose what we mostly love.
At that time I lived from day to day and I spent my day au but de souffle, to the very last, running from an event to the other without pause.
I spent my day jumping where Carlo was setting, as first assistant director, the movie by Alberto Sordi, ‘Stardust’, to my friends’ house at Parioli where, among joints and witticisms, I was spending the remaining day. The period of superficiality was at the top!
Every day for me and Carlo was an occasion of amusement, we attended the Salone Margherita and the Pouff where, at that time, performed the debutants of cabaret Cochi e Renato, that I personally supported with my claque and not only…
At dead of night I received the call from Renato Pozzetto that, at dawn, when Carlo went out, I reached… euphoric to know a part of the life to me still not known…
During the Summer of the year 1973 I signed two contracts really special: I should play a movie as main character with the title “Sedici anni” (Sixteen years) and take part in a small role to the movie with Monica Vitti and Alberto Sordi, entitled “Stardust”. I should have play the part of an American lyric singer that fell in love with the national Albertone with whom she spoke telling him love phrases only strictly singing. We’d have worked at Anzio and at the Petruzzelli’s Theatre in Bari, before a whole audience made of real soldiers of the Italian Army!
The Theatre before the arson
“On…on your lips, sweetly, a good kiiiiss…I’ll give” I sang every day revising my part and I repeated the beginning of the lyric that I’d have to trill on scene. The friends were enthusiast, everybody wanted to take part to the movie even only as crowds or special extras.
I undertook and managed to have all of them engaged and in both the movie. Giovanni Saint Just had the privilege to take part even in a scene in actor role, but I don’t know how much was the satisfaction by his very rigorous family!
While I was dancing, on the set, with Alberto Sordi singing, in play back, the tune by me learned by heart all my friends was dancing around me: Carlo e Giovanni Saint Just, Boni Spinola and his cousin Carlo, Stefanino Almagià, Franz Catalano. I had fallen platonically in love with Carlo Saint Just, he was so fragile, but so resolute… rich of values that he’d have never disregarded to begin a love story with a married “woman”. This was the thing that most fascinated me then everything: I haven’t the possibility to mistake remaining close to him, he wouldn’t have given me way to… severe as he was about those moral conventions that are in the end the salt of life.
In “Romeo and Juliet” William Shakespeare makes the friar Laurence say “ Women may fall when there’s no strenght in a man”.
Ah, if my father and my mother had followed them as well instead of fully embody their characters with a provocative and desecrating temper…
And yet, coming into the world, I had chosen them! It should have been a good reason!
I remember, during that summer, the embarrassment felt on the set by Carlo Saint Just’s brother, Giovanni, in interpreting my seducer’s part. The scene provided to show him undressed, even if not completely, in the act of reaping the fruit of my love.
My noble and gentle friend Giovanni Saint Just
It resulted a really soft scene, also thanks to all the shame that transpired from the leading actor. Maybe it was for this little particular that the movie “Sedici Anni” had so a great success, Tiziano Longo’s direction was gentle and the takings came punctual…the movie boxed over one billion lire, that for the time wasn’t really a mere trifle!
I went and came from our house, and often left Carlo spending his nights alone, throwing him in the most gloomy anguish and I didn’t take care. I was just thinking of running after amusement, after the possibility of spending time and nights together with the people who I had chosen as my friends.
I was at Porto Ercole to celebrate Mark Spitz’s triumphs at swimming Olympic Games, I was in Venice at Palazzo Volpi’s ball, I was… always alone. And Carlo?
Dreaming with Mark Spitz
Carlo was waiting for me despairing at home, in Via Sistina till when one day, on my return, he told me:
“Eli come to the Safa Palatino cinema factory tonight: there is the showing of your movie”
I was really happy, Carlo …had understood my madness and had forgiven it even inviting me at the preview of “Stardust”, the movie on which I placed every hope of success.
Indeed Carlo didn’t stop to amaze me.
When I went in the projection room the light was still on and everybody, looking at me, stopped talking: there was absolute silence. I was shocked, and take my place with my heart in turmoil, heavy of grim presages. Dark fell down… a hand leant on my shoulders, it was Alberto Sordi …”Eli it hasn’t been my fault!” he whispered to me… to disappear then in the darkness of the hall.
I get up and run away to pour out my sorrow, I cry bitterly…it wasn’t necessary remaining to understand what he wanted to say.
My rôle had been cut off and not by him…. Carlo’s family had closed for me the doors of that world at which I aimed so much. The first rate cinema was dead and buried for me…Carlo had been avenged.
For many days I upheld my thesis, which asserted that it wasn’t correct to make up for being wronged hitting someone’s health or job, because these last were and are, for me, untouchable values.
But, of every value of life I was lacking one, the most important!
I didn’t consider family, that I, towards Carlo, had so betrayed and outraged.
I didn’t considered its importance because me self didn’t know its emphasis.
I’d lost it as a young girl, my family, and for me, simply, didn’t exist anymore.
On the contrary, I couldn’t understand why, telling this unfortunate episode, my interlocutors weren’t siding with me.
Having been lacking in respect towards my job, from which came my support too, was for me the harshest of the losses.
I couldn’t forgive Carlo that deceit, holding him responsible for it, I began to sentimentally avert from him because I thought he had betrayed me.
With Carlo and Stefanino Almagià we left to London but I didn’t share with him the same bed or room anymore. One afternoon,returning in our little house in Rome, I found Carlo in our bedroom with a young starlet…
Even if I had failed to apply, for first, the bond of our matrimony I had never did it in our house, on our bed… occasion this, for me, very harsh!
I had really a good confusion of values in my head! And nobody who helped me to rectify it!
That evening I gathered all my dresses in a sheet, I called a taxi and moved in a single room at Hotel Plaza in via del Corso.
The flight of stairs just in the entrance of the grand hotel
I asked the concierge to pay my trip…as useful I hadn’t with me enough money…
My story with Carlo was finished. I knew I had been in the wrong and I didn’t want anything by him, not an object that had belonged to our short and unhappy matrimony, neither a suitcase…
I’d been present to the quarrels of my parents, during their separation, at least in this I’d have been different: I wouldn’t have claimed anything for my future maintenance.
The question should have been closed, for me, in the most civil manner!
Quite honestly I knew I had disregarded my promise, I knew I had had other love stories while I was sharing his bed, I had been pregnant by a Milanese love and I had an abortion, for the second time, with any conscience. Really I could only recite a ‘mea culpa’.
Pondering over those moments, now, I feel a feeling of dread mixed with tenderness for my absolute lack of judgement, my total absence of understanding of life’s values …nearly as if I didn’t possess any safe the most superficial…
Poor Eli, what a pain for the confusion in which you lived.
What a waste of time, feelings and lives!
During a scene in Love Trial
My precarious existence went on, at the end of this year I received the engagement to play in the role of main character “La Prova d’Amore”… a sequel of the first, lucky movie by Tiziano Longo.
After all my career went on even if in second rate…but I hadn’t still understood it !