Puccini and the Girl (Puccini e la fanciulla, 2008)
Director: Paolo Benvenuti, Paola Baroni
Puccini’s works are famous worldwide. From Madama Butterfly to La Bohème, his music earned him the status of greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi, according to the critics. But there was more than music and fame in his life, and scandals abounded. Eurochannel invites you to discover one of his darkest secrets in an innovative artistic drama: Puccini and the Girl.
Directed by Paolo Benvenuti and Paola Baroni, Puccini and the Girl is a unique drama portraying the period when Puccini composed La fanciulla del West. In the movie — which originally develops as a silent film with voice-overs reading the letters that the protagonists write to each other — it is clear that Giacomo Puccini had a penchant for women while composing his operas, which led to shocking scandals about his sexual life.
Conceived as an experimental film, Puccini and the Girl is the result of tireless effort and exhaustive research, not only by the directors but with the help of students from Intolerance, the film school in Viareggio, Tuscany. While developing the screenplay, Benvenuti found an amusing surprise: an unidentified granddaughter who kept a suitcase with unseen footage of the composer playing the piano!
Rare and magnificent, provoking and sophisticated, Puccini and the Girl is a movie whose musical construction builds a labyrinth of ambiguities and secrets through superb images, revealing the controversial demise of the composer’s youngest maid and a hidden love affair.
While Puccini is totally engrossed with the composition of his opera La fanciulla del West, sexual intrigue swirls around him. Romance, envy, jealousy and death are the protagonists of this intense silent drama.
Festivals and Awards:
• 2009 Leeds Film Festival - Golden Owl Award – Best Film