Magazine article New Internationalist

We Don't Want to Talk about It

Magazine article New Internationalist

We Don't Want to Talk about It

Article excerpt

This tale is dedicated to all the people who have the courage to be "different" in order to be themselves.' So goes the preface to Maria Luisa Bemberg's elegant and passionate film set in a small gossipy town in 1930s Argentina. Based on a short story by Julio Llinas, it concerns the rich widow Leonor (Luisina Brando), her young daughter Charlotte (Alejandra Podesta), and the enigmatic and womanizing Ludovico D'Andrea (Marcello Mastroianni). Charlotte is the apple of her mother's eye - talented and beautiful -- but different from the other girls in that she is also a person of restricted growth. It is the thing that is not talked about. Leonor has protectively exorcised all reference to 'dwarfs' from her house, burning books of fairy tales -- Tom Thumb, Snow White and Gulliver's Travels, all are gone. When the teenage Charlotte gives a piano recital her mother wants her to be seated at the piano before the curtain goes up. But Charlotte defies her and walks across the stage. Later Leonor is even more disturbed to catch Charlotte dressing up as Carmen: it is obvious that she would actually prefer her to be a little girl for the rest of her life. …

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