Thursday, August 8, 2019

29. La Bellezza

In Italian class, we're watching a 1968 movie starring the gorgeous Claudia Cardinale, the also-gorgeous Franco Nero, and the not-at-all-gorgeous Lee J. Cobb.

When Marco, our professore, introduced the film, he of course gave its name, (Il Giorno della Civetta), the author on whose story the movie was based (Leonardo Sciasca), and a very brief description (hard-boiled detective story, a giallo, set in corrupt Sicily—quite the opposite of the sweet Il Postino we previously watched).

Unacademically, however, he—and we all—ended up talking about how Claudia Cardinale was once a knockout but is now catastrophically aged and currently a very far cry from a dewy, nubile lollapalooza. A fellow student, Laura, kindly and astutely pointed out that for beautiful women, aging is more difficult and that people are definitely more unkind to women who were drop-dead gorgeous.

Days after class, I enjoyed a bout of vapid Googling, searching for photos of Claudia Cardinale. Along with the bounty of glorious images of the Italian-Tunisian beauty are more recent photos of Cardinale. She's still beautiful—with good-ish bones, regular features, and natural good looks—but I can see why she's the butt of jokes; she overdoes it. Her eyebrows are pencil-thin lines; her eyeliner is too thick below her eyes and smears, especially into the corners; her big statement earrings which compete with also-big statement necklaces causea cacophony of statements; her dyed hair is perhaps a little too dark for her aging skin. So, the overall result borders on the grotesque. If Claudia Cardinale were to do less to enhance herself, she may look better.

Of course, I've never been a famous knockout. But I wonder if acknowledging the aging process just a little bit—and doing less to enhance herself—would decrease the effects of the passing years on Claudia Cardinale. Or, because most of us are afraid of aging and time, do we  need to gawk and point and laugh in order to feel better that our tussle with gravity isn't so public?

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