THE “DIVA GENTILE”. THE ACTRESS SOAVA GALLONE IN ITALIAN CINEMA MAGAZINES FROM 1915 TO 1925
this article illustrates the critical reception of Soava Gallone, born Stanislava Winawer, according to Italian movie magazines between 1915 and 1925. the career of the Polish actress, who settled in Italy in 1911, developed especially during the golden age of the “Diva-Film”, a proper Italian film genre that focuses attention on female roles and on the characters that they play, of Symbolist and Dannunzian derivation. the actress’ approach to her craftwas a far cry from the canons of the “divas” of that time, who were characterised by languid gazes and mannered poses. While Lyda Borelli, Francesca Bertini, Pina Menechelli played mainly “femmes fatales”, Soava Gallone preferred more reassuring characters whose seductive implications were often derived from the cruelty of the male characters. In Avatar (Carmine Gallone, 1915), Gallone played a loyal wife; in Senza Colpa! (Carmine Gallone, 1915), she played an innocent woman forced to defend herself from an attempted rape with homicide; in La Chiamavano Cosetta (eugenio Perego, 1917), she portrayed a woman pushed to false desires for luxury and wrongful wishes, having been ripped from her simple world. Finally, in Il Bacio di Cyrano (1919), Maman Poupée (1919), Amleto e il Suo Clown (1920) and Marcella (1921), she consistently portrayed the same type of character: a gentle woman with angelic features. even the public image she tried to build for herself was that of a reassuring, smart and cultured woman. the photographs depicting her never showed her in poses as seductive as those of Menechelli or Bertini, and for the majority of the columnists of the Italian press of those years, Soava Gallone was described as “the pale blonde creature”, “the beautiful, simple and spontaneous [one]”, the “gentle and pleasing interpreter”.