When it comes to beauty and dressing well, I would argue that Italians are the aficionados of both. "La Bella Figura" is very real in Italy and something I also take seriously and incorporate into my life. As a romantic, it's important that I curate beauty around me to keep my spirits up and to showcase the best version of myself. What I mean by curating beauty is by having trinkets, decor, and clothing that make me feel elevated, inspired, and the woman that I always want to be. Along with owning aesthetically pleasing items, it's vital for me to experience beauty as I listen to music, participate in activities, and watch films. As I have payed close attention to the images from the Italians I follow on social media and from researching Italian culture, I have noticed that they are impeccable with details and know how to live beautifully. There is no need to convince you of this since we are all well aware of (or should be) the great Italian renaissance artists and famous Italian fashion designers. However, I came across a short film that is not well known but exudes the type of beauty I am trying to convey and would like to share it with you. As we go through my film review, I hope you become enamored with the photographs as I did when watching the film.
Alberto Lattuada's Gli Italiani Si Voltano is part of a six episode film titled L'amore In Città. These episodes where created in 1953 and each one is directed by an Italian director including the respected and famed Federico Fellini. Gli Italiani Si Voltano translates to the Italians turn around. This will make more sense as you watch the film. **DISCLAIMER** For those that are easily triggered, I would refrain from watching the film and only view the photographs on here. Since this film was produced in the early 50's, there are certain aspects of it that are controversial in our modern society. As a positive individual and for the theme of this particular review, I am not going to be discussing the negative elements of the film but will instead highlight the positive.
Lattuada does not hesitate to start us off with both the music and the first young woman making a dramatic entrance. This is important to note because they start the momentum that keeps going until the end of the film without a pause. As several stylish Italian women are shown leaving their homes with the sun beaming on their faces, the viewer quickly acknowledges that the director wants us to notice their morning routine as they start the day. Most of them are shown smiling, doing their last primp, and eager to step out into the world to runway their outfits on the street as they head to their destination. Every woman is showcased as beautiful and worth admiring while we also see their different styles and personalities. While most of them are shown running into the streets like a school girl and smiling, there are others who have a more serious demeanor and are shown walking in a more refined manor emphasizing that they are not not in any rush.
Since Lattuada's episode is a visual piece, he uses music to express the mood, personality, and energy being expressed by a character. From the movement of a woman's curves or walk to the suggestive thoughts and energy of the male gazer, the viewer is able to understand what the director wants us to pay attention to. Aside from the negative aspects of the male gaze, I appreciate Lattuada putting women on a pedestal.When I view this film, I have the impression that women were being shown as goddesses confidently walking the earth knowing their secret weapon, femininity. Clothing allowed them to show case their feminine curves and bring out their energy which the men clearly noticed and admired as the women passed them. You will see below that one of the women smiles to herself as men look at her. She is fully aware of her power and not afraid to be in it.
One thing I missed most during the pandemic was being able to dress up and commute to work down town. I always feel empowered when I have an outfit that is tailored to my body type. It definitely adds a pep to my step and I go into the day feeling on top of the world. Dressing up at home helped me stay focused and feel good about myself but I wasn't able to partake in the art of expressing myself to others with my sense of fashion. Wearing masks and the fear of going out put a damper to my mood even though I did my best to dress up. Now that Chicago is fully open, I cannot wait to curate classic outfits, such as the above, and treat the city as my runway. Below is a YouTube link where you can watch a majority of Gli Italiani Si Voltano. I would love to hear the things that you enjoyed most while watching this film. Please leave a comment and share with your friends.