THE WOMAN WITH SUITCA, eternal sorrow

Jacques Perrin is gone. In June 2021, he presented the restored version of Valerio Zurlini’s LA FILLE À LA VALISE in a room in the Latin Quarter. Back to a timeless session and this timeless young film where emotions are always captured in nuance.

Sa Christine Cinema Club, we don’t release movies, we admire them. Illusion of a common dream? No doubt. That night, the theater was alert and patiently waiting for the arrival of a great cinematographer. The light turned on and the door opened. Jacques Perrin emerge, like a young man who has not seen the passage of time. He’s there, approaching his 80th birthday, to show us a 60th movie. His face, we’ll see it in THE WOMAN WITH THE SUITCA, a young, innocent, novice face, who still has a whole world to discover and a whole life of cinema to experience. The screen then held him like a mirror to his past.

One question enters our minds: what remains over time? The look or the smile? Because on the back of its face with wrinkles full of life, remains intact: a small smile on the edge of the lip, a twinkle in the eye; yes this young man is still there, still not changing. Then he told us about Valerio Zurlinihis wisdom, the sweetness of filmmaking on the Adriatic coast, the brilliant Claudia Cardinale and of this film that re -emerged youth. Then Perrin slip to give way to its eternal cinema double. Almost a year after this appearance, the man disappears into a sigh, leaving him characters without an interpreter. But if Jacques Perrin is gone, a part of his aura remains in the images that seem to us, for their part, to be very much alive.

Credits: Les Films du Camélia

It all started in 1958: Jacques Perrin crowding the boards of the Edouard VII theater next door Sami Frey sa The baccalaureate year. In the bedroom, Valerio Zurlini observed. The filmmaker just found his face Lorenzo. Perrin then boarded Italy at the age of just 18. Sa A GIRL To THE SUITCASEhe is this bourgeois boy who loves the beautiful and the poor Aidadid well by Claudia Cardinale. It’s not an opera, but it might look like it. Here again, this is an impossible love story, a certain love between two characters who are all in conflict, starting with the social type: Lorenzothe bourgeois young man – who was not yet much of a man – slept in a large house facing the brilliant. Aida, an unfortunate, independent and naive young woman who tries to exist in a system locked in by men and their desires. In the house of Zurlini, there is such impossibility of remaining in carelessness, as if it were necessary to experience the feeling of this life that passes and marks. But despite this social demise and this relationship doomed to failure, a few glances are enough to still believe that another world is possible; and that one’s grief can be softened by contact with the grief of another.

Credits: Les Films du Camélia

The prologue tells us all about this impossible movement and the irritating trajectory of the heroine: a train passes by, a panoramic begins, a deserted road appears in the frame and a car opposes the movement of train by reversing. If the movement is canceled, it is due to each promotion ofAida in fact only brings a return to the starting point, a return to the suitcase and to walk to (sur) live. It should also be said that the cinema of Zurlini is crossed by trains, routes, beaches or wide open spaces full of illusions: one thinks of Rimini, of his violent summer and on this shore that already carries a doomed love in between Jean-Louis Trintignant at Eleonora Rossi Drago before the separation took place on the train. The last motion of A GIRL To THE SUITCASE will only be kept on-site; leaving Aida in a station hall, refuses to board the train and pushes him to wander through a deserted plaza before disappearing off the screen. We rethink this question launched by Aida sa Romolo Vallithe ecclesiastical: Everyone is defending the other. And me, who is defending me? “. Looking down, silence is the only answer; like this vacant place, there is no shelter, which no longer welcomes anyone except a broken dreamer. The mechanic repeated to himself: attracted and leftas in this very eponymous film’s Pietro Germi where the Cardinal leaving the place of honor at sandrelli.

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Credits: Les Films du Camélia

But with the cruelty and nihilism of this stare, brilliant moments still do. Maybe because Zurlini not completely despairing. Because the beauty of youth is stronger than any frustration. Because a look of love will always be brighter than a touch of bitterness. What matters is if all happiness is certain to disappear. In the house of Zurlini, the feeling remains attached to the pictures: as they disappear from our sight, yet they continue to follow us to the point of attraction. Probably because these photos are emotions embedded in frames. Emotions are movements: a heartbeat, a first step, one hand clasped to another, etc. ” There are so many things I can’t tell you »Bulong Lorenzo sa Aida. Pictures of Zurlini however, they succeeded.

With these landscape -like faces, Valerio Zurlini seems to want to capture the fragility of moments that are always missing.

Every “framing” affects a real sensitivity, every shot has a subtle charm. Like this coming down the stairs from Claudia Cardinale in a Verdi opera (Aidaof course): at the moment, he seems to exist completely in the gaze of Perrin, in a moving shot/reverse shot that makes her queen wearing a towel (the illusion of exceeding her condition at 45 rpm) and she’s a trapped heart. Is this the tragedy of its sentimental education? An impossible reconciliation? But the appearance of Perrin is worth a thousand hugs. How not to conjure up that long static shot on his face as he watches Aida dance with another lover? The shot squeezes your heart as if you are recovering from a heart disease. Rhythm of ” El Deguello “ng Dimitri Tiomkin and his trumpet straight out of Rio Bravo, the scene imposes unbroken emotion; love in a look, desire, sadness and incompetence also. But above all an incredible accuracy in interpretation, in this same young man who sang in Demy yan ” his love is his life but what is the use of dreaming “. In such scenes Zurlini announced all his talents as a director of actors.

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Credits: Les Films du Camélia

Talent also as a filmmaker; kasi Zurlini often choosing to support looks in long shots that never cut into emotion. He also deployed a sense of presentation, all in motion, really breathtaking. So the filmmaker always outlines the emotions as closely as possible by separating the looks, neck, caressing of the hands, gestures of weakness, and this, there are always a lot of nuances. The superb black and white also helps reinforce this dynamic feeling, between shadow and light, between revealed interior and mystery. The camera then moves to the rhythm of bodies and beating hearts. We feel in every shot all the love we have Zurlini to its artists. And his actors paid him: Claudia Cardinale is like a ray of sunshine, unpredictable in its reactions, full of contradictions, as unfathomable as it is overwhelming. He is able at a glance to open his soul to the camera, and to a Jacques Perrin just fair to his game.

Credits: Les Films du Camélia

With these faces like scenes, Valerio Zurlini seems to want to take the fragility of moments that always end in loss when the scourge of midnight hits. What emerges from THE WOMAN WITH THE SUITCA, it is above all the real sorrow, the vanished world, of a fleeting world where moments of happiness are always bathed in apparent sorrow. Because of this world of laziness », Time includes dissatisfaction. Life is not the Tintarella di Luna ng Mina. Romantic aspirations only last for the duration of a glance; and the real always goes back to charging to cause a bit of despair. The last act of Lorenzointended as a declaration, would have the opposite effect: expanding an envelope in which money replaced words, as a reflection of a society that no longer believes in anything and thinks that money can replace a feeling.

Then, Zurlini will give way to a deeper despair; from Personal diary next year – which looks like Perrin meet the, overwhelming, of Mastroianni – until his last disillusioned film, The teacheralong with this seaside resort in the winter where death seems to accompany the wandering ofAlain Delon. But in this melancholy and pathetic perspective, Zurlini not forgetting to show delicacy in his characters; lost souls still wandering in search of hope or escape. Yes A GIRL To THE SUITCASE go straight to the heart, it’s good because this melodrama doesn’t know how to wrinkle and gives life Lorenzo at Aida moments of eternity. So to the question “what stays over time?” », We will answer: the life behind a face, the vitality of expressions, the emotion of a look and the confession of a smile. Because ultimately, all that’s left is the looks of the people we loved in a movie.

Fabian Jestine

Original title: The girl with the suitcase
Realization: Valerio Zurlini
Script: Leonardo Benvenuti, Piero De Bernardi, Enrico Medioli, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi and Valerio Zurlini
Key personnel: Claudia Cardinale, Jacques Perrin, Luciana Angiolillo, Renato Baldini, Riccardo Garrone, Elsa Albani, Corrado Pani, Gian Maria Volontè, Romolo Valli
Release Date: May 1962
Duration: 2:01

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