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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Profile: Alba Caterina Rohrwacher

Photo by Fabio Lovino 

Actress Alba Rohrwacher has been working more than ever lately and currently has two films receiving international praise; Le meraviglie which was directed by her sister, Alice, and won the Grand Prix at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival; and Via Castellana Bandiera which is about to be shown in New York City at the Open Roads: New Italian Cinema film series at Lincoln Center.

Born to an Italian mother and German father, Rohrwacher has taken Italian cinema by storm since her debut in 2004. With her trademark red locks and blue eyes, she does not have the typical Italian look of most screen sirens in her country, but that is exactly what sets her apart from the rest.

Born in Tuscany, Rohrwacher relocated to Rome where she studied her craft at the Scuola Nazionale di Cinema. Shortly thereafter, she began working in theater and film. Her first big screen appearances were in smaller supporting roles in films such as Carlo Mazzacurati's 2004 L'amore ritrovato (An Italian Romance), the 2005 comedy, Kiss Me Lorena and Marco Bellocchio's hit movie, Il regista di matrimoni (The Wedding Director). Each of those films earned her enough recognition to catch the attention of veteran directors, Pupi Avati and Silvio Soldini. It was her role in Pupi Avati's 2008 film, Il papà di Giovanna (Giovanna's Father) that jump started her career as a leading lady. In Il papà di Giovanna, she plays the role of Giovanna Casali, an emotionally fragile teenager who is jailed for the murder of a fellow classmate. The role earned her a David di Donatello Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and a Golden Globe for Best Breakthrough Actress.

L'uomo che verrà
Rohrwacher has a mysterious quality about her that makes her characters complicated and emotionally layered. In a Jury's comment from the Venice Film Festival, she was described as an actress that "possesses an utterly natural skill, and each of her performances is always profound and complex." It is no wonder that Rohrwacher was named one of Europe's up and coming "Shooting Stars." She entrusts her characters with painstaking intensity and vulnerability. One role in which those qualities were thoroughly employed was Giorgio Diritti's 2008 drama, L'uomo che verrà (The Man Who WIll Come). The film is set during World War II in the German occupied territory of Monte Sole, just outside Bologna, and tells the tragic events referred to as "The Marzabotto Massacre," when villagers were forced to endure murder and torture at the hands of the Nazis during the decline of Mussolini. Rohrwacher plays the role of a protector to a little girl she is trying to save. She balances a fine line of fear and bravery while looking death right in the face.  

Cosa voglio di più
Rohrwacher's 2011 release, Cosa voglio di più (Come Undone) in which she costars with Pier Francesco Favino, demonstrates a sensual side of the actress. "Cosa voglio di più" is about two people who are in committed relationships but are wildly attracted to each other and engage in an illicit affair. The sultry love scenes and radical nature of Rohrwacher's character uncover yet another dimension of her wide acting range. In "Cosa voglio di più," she suppresses her inhibitions and delivers a passionate performance. The film marks new territory for Rohrwacher and has given the young actress even more international recognition and praise.
Via Castellana Bandiera
In Emma Dante's, Via Castellana Bandiera (A Street in Palermo), Rohrwacher delivers a fierce performance alongside Dante, who also stars in the film. The story recounts two young women on their way to celebrate a friend’s marriage when they decide to take a shortcut through town. That’s when they enter a one-way street with another car trying to get through. As both drivers are experiencing frustration and conflict in their own personal lives, they are not in the mood to give in and let the other through. So, there they stay camped out in their cars until one is forced by dire circumstances to finally move her car. The title, Via Castellana Bandiera is named after the narrow street in Palermo where the women remain, refusing to move their cars.

Alba Rohrwacher is prolific in her work, always taking on new projects to challenge her skills, making her grow as an actress. She currently has three upcoming releases in production: Hungry Hearts by Saverio Costanzo, Racconto dei racconti by Matteo Garrone and Vergine giurata by Laura Bispuri.

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