After a lifetime in front of the camera lens, 75 year old Benedetta Barzini wants to disappear. Her son, on the other hand, wants more than ever to film her.
With this tension at the heart of his film, first time director Beniamino Barrese has made both an intimate, nuanced portrait of an iconoclastic woman, and an enigmatic tract on images, identity and filmmaking itself.
Benedetta Barzini was adored as a fashion model in the 1960s, being photographed endlessly and walking runways around the world. Against all expectations, she became a journalist and professor, critiquing the fashion industry and advocating for women’s emancipation.
As mother and son embark on his project, Barrese has Barzini’s cautious consent to film her, but always wanting more than she is willing to give, he frequently oversteps the mark. Capturing the complexity of his mother’s life – and her plans to disappear – Barrese’s portrait is an often provocative rumination on the relationship between filmmaker and subject, questioning the gaze of the fashion industry as much as the voyuerism of the documentary camera.
This film is showing as part of our Women’s History Month season.