In Search of Elsa Morante
(In cerca di Elsa Morante. Storia di una scrittrice)
(Documentary, Italy, 2021, 42 min.)
In ITALIAN with ENGLISH subtitles
Followed by a conversation with director
Vanessa Roghi, historian and author
This documentary, researched, written, and directed by historian Vanessa Roghi, tells the story of the life of Elsa Morante (1912-1985), one of the greatest Italian authors of the 20th century. It does so by piecing together the clues left to us by the writer herself: a suitcase filled with photographs, rare and rediscovered television appearances, and a lecture from 1965 recorded by Swiss television which has never been broadcast since.
Talking about the making of the film offers a chance to tell the story of a woman who moved further and further away from the star-system spotlight. And she did so just as her husband, the author Alberto Moravia (1907-1990), and her closest friend, the author and director Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975), take the opposite path and begin appearing more and more on television and on the silver screen.
The disappearance of Elsa Morante - not by chance a prelude to the most relevant phenomenon of contemporary Italian literature, Elena Ferrante - almost becomes a prophecy, a symbolic gesture that allows us to reflect upon a woman's need to take a step back into the shadows to allow her works, and her works alone, to do the speaking.