The Party Film Sales, located in Paris, has acquired the rights to Antongiulio Panizzi’s hybrid documentary “The Girl in the Fountain,” a twin portrayal of legends Anita Ekberg and Monica Bellucci that premiered at the Torino Film Festival last November.
The video alternates between historical footage of Ekberg and reenacted sequences by Bellucci, who retraces Ekberg’s faults and decisions, encouraging the audience to ponder on what it is like to be an icon, presenting a new look at femininity, celebrity, and media exposure.
According to Panizzi, the famous moment in Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” in which Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg take a midnight bath in the Trevi Fountain reveals a far more chaotic existence – that of an actress overwhelmed by her own renowned image.
Panizzi told Variety ahead of the Torino premiere that the legendary moment became a burden for her, as she got to understand what Rita Hayworth meant when she stated, “They go to bed with Gilda; they wake up with me.”
The filmmaker wanted Bellucci to narrate the tale of the Swedish legend because he thought she would be the right complement. “Monica is in command of her life, working on various projects, and generally in a terrific spot in her career,” he told Variety. Perhaps women were seen differently at the time? “In any case, Anita was caught in that fountain,” he said.
For the part, the Italian star bleached her hair blonde and surprised Panizzi on the last day of filming with a letter she had written to Ekberg, an excerpt of which is utilized in the film.
“Anita Ekberg’s image was so strong that it obscured both the lady and the actress, leaving only the myth to shine.” I came closer to her closeness while creating this film. “I found a sensitive, bright individual who was maybe too autonomous for a period when women in Italy were primarily bound to a home component,” Bellucci said.
“She came like a cyclone, violating the conventions of the day, when being a woman and an actor was quite different from what it is now.” She paid a high price for her longing for liberty. “As women today, we can learn a lot from ladies like her,” she continued.
“The Girl in the Fountain” perfectly suits our ambition to continue building our documentary collection around cinema with personal and innovative approaches, according to Estelle de Araujo, head of TV sales at The Party Film Sales. Recent examples include Francesco Zippel’s “Oscar Micheaux, the Superhero of Black Filmmaking” (Cannes Classic 2021) and Raphael Millet’s “U-96, The True Story of “Das Boot,” which is now in development.
“It’s a remarkable picture in which Monica Bellucci slips into the skin of Anita Ekberg, presenting a double image of two great performers and shining light on the powerful women behind the idols.” We are convinced that spectators will be affected and inspired by this contemplative picture, which has a seldom seen mise-en-scene.”
“The Girl in the Fountain” is a collaboration between Dugong Films and Eagle Pictures in Italy, and Shoot&Post in Sweden, with funding from Regione Lazio – Lazio Cinema International.
The Party Film Sales is at the Cannes Film Market with Tessa Louise-documentary Salomé’s “The Wild One,” which will have its global debut at Tribeca, and the director’s cut of Sébastien Lifshitz’s “Bambi, a French Woman,” which follows the lives of one of France’s first transgender people.