• Golden Globe Awards

Claudia Cardinale Retrospective in New York’s Museum of Modern Art

“Most people only live once. But I’ve lived 141 lives,” said Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale in 2014. She is known by the world as Claudia Cardinale, one of the most successful European movie actresses of all time, with a career spanning nearly 70 years.
“The loveliest compliment I’ve ever received was from David Niven. When we were shooting The Pink Panther (1963), he said: ‘After spaghetti, you’re Italy’s happiest invention,’” Cardinale added on that occasion, when she was receiving the Actor’s Mission Award in Slovakia.
In collaboration with Cinecittà (Rome), the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) of New York is this month presenting an in-depth retrospective of Cardinale’s work, including 23 films, 12 of which are restorations.
Born in Tunisia (Africa) to Sicilian parents on April 15th, 1938, Cardinale will be 85 this spring. Her first film appearance was in 1958, a minor role in Goha, with Omar Sharif, and since then she has never stopped working in films and, occasionally, theater. Even last year a new movie of hers came out: The Island of Forgiveness, written and shot by Ridha Behi in Tunisia.

A truly international actress, fluent in Italian, French, English, Spanish, Sicilian dialect, and Tunisian Arabic, she has worked with the most famous Italian filmmakers and screenwriters, including Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci, Valerio Zurlini and Sergio Leone.
Curiously, because of her natural French accent, it was not until 1963 in Fellini’s Otto e mezzo (8½) that Cardinale’s own voice was used in her Italian films. “When I arrived for my first movie, I couldn’t speak a word. I thought I was on the moon. I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. And I was speaking in French; in fact I was dubbed. And Federico Fellini was the first one who used my voice. I think I had a very strange voice,” she told The Guardian in May 2003. Luckily, she added, “In Italy in the sixties, it was the magic moment of Italian cinema. We were always together, the directors, the actors, it was an incredible atmosphere.”
In the same interview, Cardinale commented: “Bridgett Bardot says: ´You’re not a woman, you’re a man´.” And: “I don’t think I’m an actress. I think I have the capacity and the possibility to become the woman I’m supposed to… I like silence… I don’t like the star system… For me, work is something, and private life is something else, very separate… I’m a normal person. I like to live in Europe. I mean, I’ve been going to Hollywood many, many times, but I didn’t want to sign a contract.”
In over five decades (1961-2014) she has won six out of seven nominations for the David di Donatello Awards, the biggest honor bestowed by the Accademia del Cinema Italiano. The prestigious Venice Film Festival has given her two awards: for Best Actress (1984) and Career Golden Lion (Leone d’oro alla carrier, 1993). And in 2002 she received an Honorary Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. She is also an active feminist and has been a UNESCO goodwill ambassador for the Defense of Women’s Rights since 2000.
In February 2011, The Los Angeles Times Magazine listed Cardinale among the 50 most beautiful women in film history. The legendary actress, who currently lives in Paris, did not attend the opening night at the MoMA, but was represented by her daughter, Claudia Squitieri, who also directs The Fondazione Claudia Cardinale.

The ceremony started with the screening of Un Cardinale donna (2023), “a short poetical portrait” of the actress directed by Manuel Maria Perrone. Also part of the retrospective is the publication of the Cinecittà book “Claudia Cardinale. L’indomabile -The indomitable”, curated by her daughter. Among so many other details, the book reminds us that Visconti described Cardinale as “a splendid tabby cat that for the time being scratches at the cushions in the living room (…) but that one of these days we will realize is a tiger.”
F. Murray Abraham (Golden Globe winner in 1985) attended the opening at MoMA, fresh from his recent nomination as Best Supporting Actor – Television Limited Series/Motion Picture for The White Lotus. Next to him was his “son” from that show, Michael Imperioli, two-time Golden Globe nominee for The Sopranos.
This retrospective has been curated by Joshua Siegel (MoMA), and Camilla Cormanni and Paola Ruggiero (Cinecittà). Some of the movies included are: (in chronological order)
Un maledetto imbroglio (The Facts of Murder). 1959. Italy. Directed by Pietro Germi (Golden Globe winner in 1963 for Divorce, Italian Style). Screenplay by Ennio de Concini.
Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers). 1960. Italy. Directed by Luchino Visconti (1968 Golden Globe nominee for The Stranger). Screenplay by Visconti, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, Enrico Medioli. With Alain Delon (1964 Golden Globe nominee for Il Gattopardo).
Il bell’Antonio (Handsome Antonio). 1960. Italy. Directed by Mauro Bolognini. Screenplay by Vitaliano Brancati, Pier Paolo Pasolini. With Marcello Mastroianni (1963 and 1965 Golden Globe winner).
La ragazza con la valigia (Girl with a Suitcase). 1961. Italy. Directed by Valerio Zurlini. Screenplay by Zurlini, Enrico Medioli, Piero de Bernardi, Leo Benvenuti, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi. Cardinale won her first David di Donatello Award with this film, which also competed in Cannes.

La viaccia (The Lovemakers). 1962. Italy. Directed by Mauro Bolognini. Screenplay by Mario Pratesi, Vasco Pratolini. With Jean-Paul Belmondo.
La ragazza di Bube (Bebo’s Girl). 1963. Italy. Directed by Luigi Comencini. Screenplay by Comencini, based on the novel by Carlo Cassola. With George Chakiris (1962 Golden Globe winner for West Side Story).
Il Gattopardo (The Leopard). 1963. France/Italy. Directed by Luchino Visconti. Screenplay by Visconti, Suso Cecchi D’Amico, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, Enrico Medioli. With Burt Lancaster (1961 Golden Globe winner for Elmer Gantry) and Alain Delon (1964 Golden Globe nominee for this role).
Otto e mezzo (8½).1963. Italy. Directed by Federico Fellini (1966 Golden Globe winner). Screenplay by Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, Brunello Rondi. With Marcello Mastroianni and Anouk Aimée (1967 Golden Globe winner). This movie won the Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film and Best Costume Design Black-and-White in 1964.
The Professionals. 1966. USA. Written and directed by Richard Brooks (1959 and 1961 Golden Globe nominee). With Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Robert Ryan. This movie received two Golden Globes nominations in 1967, including Best Picture/Drama.
Don’t Make Waves. 1967. USA. Directed by Alexander Mackendrick. Screenplay by Maurice Richlin, George Kirgo, Ira Wallach. With Tony Curtis (1958 and 1961 Golden Globe winner), and Sharon Tate (1968 Golden Globe nominee).

Il giorno della civetta (The Day of the Owl). 1968. Italy. Directed by Damiano Damiani. Screenplay by Damiani, Ugo Pirro, adapted from the novel by Leonardo Sciascia. With Franco Nero (1968 Golden Globe nominee). Cardinale won her second David di Donatello Award with this film.
Once Upon a Time in the West. 1968. USA/Italy. Directed by Sergio Leone (1985 Golden Globe nominee for Once Upon a Time in America). Screenplay by Leone, Sergio Donati, from a story by Leone, Dario Argento, Bernardo Bertolucci. With two Golden Globe winners – Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson – and nominee Jason Robards Jr.
Bello onesto emigrato Australia sposerebbe compaesana illibata (A Girl in Australia). 1971. Italy. Directed by Luigi Zampa. Screenplay by Zampa and Rodolfo Sonego. With Alberto Sordi (1964 Golden Globe winner). Cardinale won her third David di Donatello Award with this film.
Enrico IV (Henry IV). 1984. Italy. Directed by Marco Bellocchio. Screenplay by Bellocchio, Tonino Guerra, based on Luigi Pirandello’s classic play. With Marcello Mastroianni.

O Gebo e a sombra (Gebo and the Shadow). 2012. Portugal/France. Written and directed by Manoel de Oliveira. Adapted from a play by Raul Brandão.

More info about these and the other movies presented in this retrospective could be found here: https://www.moma.org/calendar/film/5550