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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Anna Foglietta: Actress and Activist with Old School Elegance

One look at actress Anna Foglietta in her any of her roles, and the Golden Age of Italian cinema comes to mind. Among Italy’s most sought-after actresses today, Foglietta brings to the table a classic eloquence of yesterday while representing Italy’s modern woman.

Born in Rome in 1979, Foglietta began her career in 2005 with a role in the RAI television series La squadra. Her character Agent Anna De Luca had a two-year run on the series as she was transitioning to cinema with Paolo Virzì’s 2006 ensemble project 4-4-2- Il gioco più bello del mondo. Since then, she has become one of Italy’s most diverse actresses, transforming herself into interesting, layered characters for comedies and dramas alike.

Aside from a small part in Anton Corbijn’s 2010 film The American starring George Clooney, Foglietta’s work began reaching mainstream American audiences in 2015. As Elisa in Edoardo Leo’s 2015 comedy Noi e la Giulia, Foglietta showed her funny side playing a goofball pregnant girl looking for a lucky break. The film was shown at festivals throughout North America and was an Official Selection in Canada’s 2015 edition the Italian Contemporary Film Festival. She teamed up again with Leo the following year in his directorial follow up, Che vuoi che sia, the story of a couple whose provocative video goes viral. The two are a cinematic match made in heaven and one can arguably say their onscreen chemistry and gorgeous looks make them the contemporary counterpart couple most reflective of Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.

Also in 2016, she stunned the same North American viewers that were introduced to her in Leo’s comedy by doing a complete 180 when she portrayed Carlotta in Paolo Genovese’s hit drama Perfetti Sconosciuti. Carlotta is a disenfranchised wife emotionally recovering over a fatal accident she caused after having too much to drink. While her husband, played by Valerio Mastandrea, is closed in the bathroom receiving text messages from another woman, she takes care of his elderly live-in mother. The film made its American premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, taking the prize for Best Screenplay.

This year, international audiences saw her in RAI’s television series adapted from Pif’s 2014 hit film, La mafia uccide solo d’estate. Foglietta took on the role of Pia Giammarresi, the wife of a Sicilian detective fighting the mafia. Although Pia’s family faced serious themes dealing with the Sicilian mafia, Foglietta gave the character an air of frivolity and lightened the serious tone with a bit of comedy relief.

When she’s not acting, she’s splaying the real-life role of activist. Her latest cause is helping the children of Syria. Every Child is My Child is an association that began shortly after the bombing of a children’s hospital in Aleppo. The association is run by a group of Italian celebrities, which include Foglietta and Leo along with artists Marco Bonini, Paola Cortellesi, Valerio Mastandrea and many others. The goals is to bring attention to the plight of the Syrian children not only in Syria but across the world as they have become refugees and try to integrate into the culture of different countries. Foglietta recently attended the press conference in Rome for Alice in Città, a film program dedicated to children, which runs parallel to the Festa del Cinema of Rome. There, I asked her about the latest mission of Every Child is My Child. She explained, “This year, we are concentrating on the children of Syria because we feel they are in emergency. We are looking for a way to sensitize people, especially the children. We visit schools and talk about how beautiful integration is, how important it is to be grateful for what is right and to commit ourselves to defending children against the brutality of war, the poverty caused by war and also the cultural poverty.”

Foglietta also does her share of acting on stage. Last year, she appeared in the play, La pazza della porta accanto directed by Alessandro Gassman and she also has a part in his upcoming film, Il Premio.

Paolo Genovese’s Perfetti Sconosciuti is no longer permitted to be shown in the U.S. because a Hollywood version of the film is currently in production. To learn more about Every Child is My Child, visit the organization online at

- Jeannine Guilyard

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