- Golden Globe Awards
The Lady (Italy)
The comfort of the stranger comes quietly and mysteriously in an Italian town at the height of the pandemic, and leaves everyone’s lives better than it was. In a nutshell this is the essence of Una Sconosciuta (The Lady), one of the Italian entries in the Golden Globes non-English language film category.
Co-written and directed by Fabrizio Guarducci, the film’s cast is headlined by Sebastiano Somma (also co-writer), playing a theater director deeply touched by his beautiful understanding ex-wife (Sandra Ceccarelli), and Desiree Noferini as the mysterious presence of the title. The original music was written by Italian composer and singer- songwriter Pino Donaggio, known in Hollywood for his collaborations with Brian De Palma for his 1970s thrillers.
The town in question is Chianciano (in Southern Tuscany), where the film was shot, a place with a glorious past thanks to its therapeutic hot springs, the “Terme”, once a glamorous holiday destination for film stars such as Fellini, Mastroianni, De Sica, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale. The town has now turned to dust, its glorious past gone. Until a beautiful and fascinating young woman appears. Her arrival causes a variety of comments and reactions from the town’s folks and the customers of the coffee shop where she shows up at the same time every day. Her enigmatic silence spontaneously brings out aspects unknown even to themselves.
Without saying a word, through just her smile and intense eyes, she invites those who come in contact with her to calm introspection, which helps them find their own answers to their questions, including the tormented theater director. Then suddenly, just as she appeared without anyone knowing where she came from, the stranger is gone. She has touched everyone with emotion and brought the small community back to life.
The film is based on a short novel written by the same Guarducci. “We wanted to create a feeling emerging from a natural and unforeseen everyday life,” says Sebastiano Somma. “We started filming in the heat of the Covid pandemic; the town’s people started timidly to get out of their homes to take a curious peak at this film’s crew, and as our stranger was able to reinstate a conversation among people, we were also able to live those same emotions of a rediscover sense of togetherness and a need to share.”
Guarducci sums it up: “The mysterious stranger represents what we’ve lost: a vision of hope that allows all of us to move on and thrive.”
In 2021, the film obtained three major awards at the Terra di Siena International Film Festival. And the same year, won Best Film at the Coliseum International Film Festival and at the Saint Petersburg Film & Television Festival.