Exactly why the veteran former supermodel Benedetta Barzini allowed her filmmaker son Beniamino Barrese to make this his very documentary on her is very unclear as most of the time she simply barks at him to F–k Off!
At 76 years old and with her well-worn face, it is still easy to see that the idiosyncratic Barzini was a great beauty in her youth. It all started when she was a young girl just walking down a Milan street when she was ‘spotted’ by Italian Vogue. Just three days later she was in New York shooting her first cover of American Vogue for the legendary Diana Vreeland.
Sadly Barrese gives us sparingly little of his mother’s exciting past when she was at the top of her game that we had to rely on Wikipedia to fill us in later. There is another movie in that alone, and one which would probably have much universal appeal than this very intimate and slightly meandering portrait.
Barzini gave up her fast NY supermodel life to go back home to Italy and become and actress and a mother. Now two husbands and 4 children later and having been a committed communist activist, journalist and a teacher she decides it is time to leave this all behind and live life just for herself and disappear. As much as we wait to discover how this later part is going to happen and we are teased with some flowery and obscure statements from Barzini, we never ever find out.
Despite this though the eccentric and colorful Barzini is both intriguing and totally charming ….. despite her barking at the son and constantly dragging on her vapor pipe. We are as confused and muddled as Barzini’s cramped apartment at what Barrese hopes to achieve with this film, but still we cannot help but feel engaged until the final credits role.