The actress tells herself: “It was Strehler who looked for me with an ad in the Corriere della Sera”
Fnatural daughter of Renato De Carmine?
«Well yes, this also happened to me – says Monica Guerritore -. When I debuted in the theater in “Cherry garden” directed by Giorgio Strehler in the role of Anja, I was only 15 years old, a little girl. But many years later, in 2013, when my real father was about to die, I learned that in Morando Morandini’s film yearbook dedicated to actresses, the «Morandini of womenIt was written that I was the natural daughter of the great actor. The false news was picked up by an old interview of mine in which I stated that I considered Valentina Cortese and Renato, who played my uncle in the show, a bit like in-laws. A statement of simple affection for them and which, instead, has become an absolute and published truth. A very bad stuff ».
And she immediately denied the macroscopic error.
“My father was dying and, in those days, I didn’t feel like telling him this nonsense, it would have grieved him, but then, when he died, I started a legal battle. The lawsuit is still pending and I hope that it will soon end with a just sentence … One of my many battles ».
Let’s start with when he left school …
«I was 12 years old but, having an older brother, Marino, I tended to imitate him, I was rather masculine, exuberant. On the first day of sixth grade, I saw girls of my age who were so cute, blond, very tidy, perfect … I didn’t recognize myself in them and I decided to take a day off. I went to Piazza di Spagna where I had already seen the Moroccans with their colorful carpets spread out on the stairs covered with necklaces, bracelets, earrings … I spent the whole morning composing bracelets, necklaces, earrings too, I loved it, but all ‘one and a half precise I went home, as if I had just left school. I found my mother talking on the phone with a friend and asking me: how was school? And I reply: very well! And she: go to your room, pack your suitcase because we have the train booked. And I: to go where, mom? And she: in boarding school. In short, he knew I had wanked at school. ‘
«The friend she was talking to on the phone a few hours earlier had passed right on the steps of Trinità dei Monti. She had seen me, without telling me anything, and obviously I hadn’t noticed it … but she had warned my mother that, being a practical woman, she understood the hint, that is, that she was dealing with a girl with a temper. … Since, however, he already had to fight with the other male, he took the ball and sent me to boarding school ».
“No! A turning point in my life, in boarding school I had many friends, while at home I suffered from loneliness: my parents separated when I was very young, my brother didn’t play with me and being a boy he had a privileged relationship with my father. I was angry, sad, I felt discriminated against, but growing up this condition strengthened me and, as an adult, I recovered a deep intellectual relationship with my father ».
“A strong, intelligent woman was my mentor. Unfortunately, however, as she got older she was affected by Alzheimer’s. I became aware of it at the beginning of the illness because of his strange attitude in a very difficult circumstance for me: my fight against breast cancer ».
Another of his battles: he campaigned for prevention.
“Of course, being a public figure, I felt a responsibility to share my problem and help other women. It seemed natural to me to make it clear that we must not be afraid, that we must not be alone, but face and fight. I went so far as to tell Umberto Veronesi that I was ready to cut my breasts: I would have had a corset made like an Amazon … But the great professor calmed me by saying: breasts are no longer cut ».
What was your mother’s strangeness?
«She came to see me in the hospital after the operation, but her presence was as if delayed, distant, when instead she had always been so close to me. There and then, I thought his was a way to give me courage, as if to say: the tumor was caught in time, so it’s not serious and you don’t have to worry. Unfortunately it was not an attitude, the truth is that it was no longer present. And when I took her for a walk outside the clinic where she was hospitalized one day, when I became diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, another incredible episode happened. As we walked down the street, she leaned against me and I saw her curved image reflected in the shop windows. I thought sorrowfully: how fragile she is, she is no longer the beautiful woman, with the energetic air of the past. My mother suddenly changes her tone of voice and asks me point blank: Monica what are you thinking? At that moment she was lucid again and read my mind ».
«I said ‘no mom’, I smiled at her, hugged her and wondered if she had deliberately taken refuge in that madness and that there was still a way to communicate with her. Then … she died fifteen days before my father: they had loved each other very much and separated because he had been an idiot … but the bond between them remained intact ».
But after college, were your parents happy with your theater debut?
“I didn’t even think about it remotely! My debut with Strehler was completely accidental. That day I was in Milan by chance and I had accompanied a friend of mine to the audition with the great director at the Piccolo. I had witnessed the rehearsal in the stalls, then I had left to go skiing in the mountains and, obviously, I had not left my references, telephone number or anything else in the theater. A few days later, when I had already returned to Rome, my Milanese friends tell me that on Corriere della Sera an ad from Strehler had come out: he was looking for that little girl he had seen sitting in the room and who looked like Ingrid Bergman. So I call the Piccolo’s secretary, saying: maybe the director is looking for me. And that was it. I asked my mother if I could go and she replied: go. I believe it was an angel who put me in the hands of the Master ».
A long career, between theater, cinema and television …
“And so many characters that I was lucky enough to know. Starting with Vittorio De Sica, with whom I made my debut in 1973, together with his son Christian, on the big screen in the film «A short vacation“. I was little and I couldn’t play the scene he asked me to do, that is, to cry. Then the director begins to scream, to treat me badly, I feel bad and my tears leave … but they were sincere and he shoots the scene: it was my first take as a film actress. Three years later, on the set of the film “Ladies and gentlemen, good night», Of which Marcello Mastroianni was the protagonist, I witnessed a funny skit. During a break, his mother came to see him: she was very worried about her son’s future, because she worked every other month and six months off. The great screenwriter Ettore Scola tried to reassure her, emphasizing that Marcello was already a famous actor, so he would never miss the job. The mother, however, did not calm down and left disconsolate ».
With Gabriele Lavia, father of his two daughters Maria and Lucia, he sailed in the immense classical repertoire, but also in films such as “Scandalous Gilda”, “Senses” e «The magnifying glass“. Have you ever felt embarrassed in risque scenes?
“Absolutely not. First of all because it is not that you could see much of my body, if not the bare breasts, but above all because, after so many classic characters, it was an act of freedom as an actress. I would add that, if I had been born a man, I would have gladly played the role of Marlon Brando in«Last tango in Paris“. I have never accepted the idea that the problem of sex exists in female characters, as it does not exist in male ones. Pornography is another matter entirely, and it does not concern me … I want to understand what is hidden in the body of women: there is also sex ».
And speaking of the body, she has never succumbed to cosmetic surgery.
“Everyone is free to do whatever they want with their changing body, but it’s a losing battle. You have to love your skin, your eyes, wrinkles, dark circles. They are the substance of femininity, the changeability of your cells and aesthetic interventions instead fix you in a lineament, while I love being out of focus. I understand that there are weaknesses, internal weaknesses that surgery can help to combat by wearing a mask, behind which, however, your strength is compressed ».
Now go back to wearing a theatrical mask, bringing on stage
“The good soul” of Sezuan
by Brecht, at the Teatro Manzoni in Milan from 4 November, inspired by the edition that Strehler made in 1981, paying homage to him.
«I was able to do it because at the time I had attended all the rehearsals and the staging of the show, in which Andrea Jonasson was the protagonist. The Maestro cannot be told only through the exhibitions with his photos, you have to see his works and this was a masterpiece ».
October 22, 2021 (change October 22, 2021 | 11:29)