If it wasn’t for her last name, and, maybe, the elegant, irresistible smile, would you be able to tell that actress, director and screenwriter Valeria Bruni Tedeschi was the sister of Nicholas Sarkozy’s première dame and top model Carla? I bet at least more than half of you wouldn’t.
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi was born in Turin, Italy, in 1964. The Bruni Tedeschi, wealthy family of Jewish origin, decided to migrate to France when the actress and director was only 9 years old, because of the risk to be kidnapped and the threat received by the Red Brigades. Naturalized French, Valeria split her career between French and Italian cinema scenes, and also combined the two quite often.
By the late 90s, she had already won two David di Donatello as best actress for The Second Time and Notes of Love; in 2014, she received the same prize for her performance in Paolo Virzi’s The Human Capital, where she interpreted Carla, wife of a wealthy man from Northern Italy who experiences an identity crisis meanwhile shocking events hit her family and, symbolically, the whole deeply capitalistic world they live in. The Human Capital is not the only occasion where Bruni Tedeschi plays the role of a rich, inevitably spoiled woman, who is anyways able to escape the bubble of privilege and alienation from common reality, thanks to small hints and traces that she gamely notices and follows. I’m referring to her latest directed film, A Castle in Italy, autobiographical movie, inspired by her family’s story and dedicated to her brother, Virginio, passed away after several years of suffering from cancer. The movie is a tremendously sweet and poignant, yet light and funny, portrait of linked human characters and their feelings.
French and Italian cultures are perfectly blended in her performances and films. The result is a unique melange of two similar, and at the same time diverse, ways of doing cinema. C’est plus facile pour un chameau it’s a great example of juxtaposition: typically French, subtle, irony and a way of developing dialogues poor in content, using references to Italian culture and history of that moment.
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi is a tender, attractively odd woman. She has played infinite roles and, yet, every new film you watch of her, you feel like you’re being given another glimpse of her persona. Each time, you can catch a different detail of her way of acting and, apparently, being in general. The bashful way she looks around when she talk, the Italian gestures she uses, her French humour: they all give you the impression that, if you’ll ever get to meet her one day, she will look exactly like that character you’ve seen her playing on screen and you love her for. The slight shyness and the incredibly calm and slow way to talk, almost like a faint slammer, build an aura of mystery around her compelling femininity.
Carla has been one of the world most wanted top models, composed and produced nearly sixty songs and made it to the Élysée Palace. Although, sure thing, her older sister proved to own a much more refined creative sensitivity, as well as, in my opinion, a greater artistic talent. Valeria might be more introverted, and less showy for sure, but she is definitely an authentic valuable artist, with, I believe, still a lot to give to cinema and, therefore, to us.
Written by Vittoria Paglino