trailers and previews doc Festa del Cinema

After the presentation at the seventeenth edition of the Rome Film Fest in the Special Screenings section, from 21 to 23 November it arrives in Italian cinemas Portrait of Queen.a film documentary produced by Nexo Digital and Rai Cinema, directed by award-winning photographer Fabrizio Ferri, who also signs the direction of photography here, and based on the 2019 bestseller of the same name published by Mondadori and written by Paola Calvetti, author of the screenplay.

Plot and cast

The official plot: She was the most photographed, loved, discussed, spied on, praised, criticized, acclaimed woman on the planet. The desire of everyone, in every part of the globe and in every moment of her long life, which ended at 96, has always been to observe her through the peephole, to intercept new fragments. To get to know her better, to be able to get in touch with her, to be able to understand her. To be able to answer the question: who was Queen Elizabeth really? For this reason, a film is now arriving at the cinema that tells The Queen from a totally new point of view: through the most intense, surprising, revealing photographic portraits of her. Portrait of the Queen was born from this intuition, the documentary-event that has as protagonists not only the very long reign of Elizabeth II, but also the exceptional tribute with which photography, an apparently “silent” art, paid homage to the Queen, creating an album seventy years long, unique in the world for variety, intensity and richness. The story of Elizabeth II, moreover, was the story of an apparently unapproachable woman who made the acceptance of her destiny and the defense of the crown her supreme reason for living and an impenetrable screen, with the only exception of photography: unique stage on which The Queen, giving in even for a few minutes to the universal laws of light and the needs of a portraitist, really revealed itself. An unpublished portrait that goes far beyond traditional biographical schemes, intertwining the Queen’s story with the equally fascinating life of the extraordinary photographers who accompanied – and often created – the very image of the British monarchy. Those who, in fact, have given life, transmitted and disseminated with their work the icon of her Majesty. From the majestic splendor of her early reign to the photographs stolen from her smartphone as she greets with her hand from her Rolls Royce, “as if she were one of us”, the image of Elizabeth II has always accompanied the history of photography. Precisely through a careful and unusual observation of the thousands and thousands of images that have portrayed her, we can perhaps approach a Queen in a new way that we have always seemed to know, but which she has always seemed equally inaccessible.

With the participation of the English actor Charles Dance, already winner of the Screen Actors Guild Awards for the TV series The Crown with speeches by Emma Blau, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Sarandon and Queen’s photographers Brian Aris, Jason Bell, Julian Calder, Chris Levine, David Montgomery, John Swannell

Production notes

Thanks to the extraordinary complicity of the British actor Charles Dance, who accompanies the documentary as a witness and interpreter, the great photographers of the past come to life not only with “royal” images, but also through the words taken from their original diaries and their “confessions” , as discreet as they are exhaustive. We thus pass from the formal and sophisticated portraits of Cecil Beaton to those of the famous Yousuf Karsh, who documents Elizabeth’s days in more intimate tones, as well as the photos of Tony Armstrong-Jones, later promoted to Lord Snowdon. The journey through images finally reaches the contemporary days, thanks to the testimonies – also unpublished – of click superstars such as Chris Levine, Brian Aris, Julian Calder, Jason Bell, John Swannell, David Montgomery, who take part in the documentary offering their vision and experience in front of an absolutely unique “model”. Conversations with Emma Blau (photographer and co-owner of the Agency Camera Press), Pierpaolo Piccioli (creative director of Valentino and one of the most important stylists and creative directors in the world), Isabella Rossellini (the woman who has had the most covers in the history of publishing, among the most photographed in the world ) and Susan Sarandon (who met the Queen personally and who gives viewers a more private and intimate reflection on the role, obligations and complexities of a ruler). Each portrait presented in the film, each conversation with the photographers involved in the project, each testimony of English actresses, designers and subjects, is intertwined in the script in a careful interlocking game and becomes the piece of a mosaic capable of capturing some of the thousand faces of the Regina, all different but all connected to each other, all equally powerful and significant. Thanks to this narrative construction, which oscillates between history and contemporaneity, period images and backstage, we will try to understand – perhaps for the first time – why more than many others Elizabeth II has become an integral part of the daily life of each of us, up to the his very recent death. An icon capable of moving, exciting, discussing, keeping glued to the screens. Her Majesty the Queen.

The original novel

Journalist, he worked in the Milanese editorial office of La Repubblica; you from 1993 to 1998 you headed the Press Office of the Teatro alla Scala, from 1997 to 1999 you were head of the press office of Baldini & Castoldi Editore and, from 2003 to 2009, Director of Communications of the Italian Touring Club. You have written subjects, scripts and made television services for the broadcast Mixer of Rai Due, won the First Prize at the Fipa in Cannes. He has published essays for the Teatro alla Scala and edited the volume Riccardo Muti, ten years at La Scala. Finalist at the Bancarella Award with the debut novel, Secret love, whose rights were acquired by Rai Cinema and Urania Film. In 2000 you published Farewell published by Rizzoli and translated into several languages. In 2004 it was released for Bompiani Neither with you nor without you, now in its fifth edition in four months. She is the author of The two of us like a novel (Mondadori, 2009), Dear sister (2011), Olivia, or the list of possible dreams (Mondadori, 2012) and The innocent (Mondadori, 2017).

The official synopsis of the novel: The very long reign of Elizabeth II is the enigmatic story of a shy and unapproachable woman who has made the supreme reason for life and an impenetrable screen of the acceptance of her own destiny, of the passionate defense of the crown. With one exception: photography, which accompanied her on her long journey as a sovereign and in the iconography of the century. The only stage in which The Queen, giving in even for a few minutes to the universal laws of light and the practical needs of a portrait painter, really revealed itself. Thus delegating to the great authors who have followed her over the decades with their goal – from Cecil Beaton to Yousuf Karsh, from Lord Snowdon to Brian Aris, from Annie Leibovitz to Harry Benson – not just the story of their own image over time and memory of the fabulous and sometimes dramatic days of the Windsors, but also the testimony of the role of the monarchy in a society in constant evolution. Judicious child, unripe heir to the throne, queen in every gram of her body, distant mother, unpopular (and then beloved) sovereign, stronger than any scandal or pain, maximum expression of the sense of duty and balance in discord and disorder: there is enough matter for the myth. But Paola Calvetti, in these pages, also outlines a personal, almost intimate, profile of Elisabetta: love for Filippo (only formally two steps behind his wife) and the true or presumed “affectionate friendships” of both; her deep bond with her father George VI and her indomitable sister Margaret; the complex relationships with the members of the large and demanding family, too often a source of gossip and embarrassing revelations. And there is space for the milder moments, the walks in boots and scarves with the inseparable corgi, the exchanges with the stylists who create the clothes and the bizarre hats for which she is famous, up to the choice of the handbag and the jewel more suitable for every occasion: anecdotes and background that also show the truth of a woman always waiting to live, to be understood and loved within our gaze. In a rigorous and pressing portrait that for the first time brings together woman and symbol, among the thousand irresistible details of an existence and a royal family without equal in the world, the author makes a protagonist of the story even more lovable, with us from nearly a century and hitherto unknown.

The book “Elizabeth II – Portrait of the Queen” by Paola Calvetti is available on Amazon.

The soundtrack

The sumptuous original soundtrack of the pianist and composer gives further body and color to the vision Remo Anzovinoto be released on the Nexo Digital label and Believe distribution in the fall and anticipated in the next few days by the publication of the main theme of the film, “Portrait of the Queen”.

Photos and posters

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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