Seven sphinxes pose in front of the Louvre Pyramid at the end of September. These are the ambassadors of the Lancôme brand: the singer Aya Nakamura, the actress Penelope Cruz, the influencer Chiara Ferragni… They all display a serious expression, with the exception of Isabella Rossellini, whose smile, broad and warm, matches the decorations of her caftan. It’s an understatement to say that the Italian-American stands out in the world, polite as possible, of “muses”: at 71 years old, this model leads her boat far from fashions and molds, wearing her actress hats , model or farmer with disconcerting ease and fantasy.
Two months later, we found her in a plush palace, a stone’s throw from the Louvre, in fact. Echoing one of his exhibitions, the museum offered to program films set in Naples, one of his “heart cities” along with Paris, Rome and New York. During our meeting, it will fuel itself with water, as an aperitif. So goes Isabella Rossellini, one foot in luxury, the other in rusticity: in her language, sumptuousness and simplicity sound like synonyms.
In this, she resembles her character from La Chimère , the film by Alice Rohrwacher, released on December 6. She portrays a former singer living in a magnificent but dilapidated villa, refusing to believe in the death of one of her daughters. “We don’t know if she’s wise or if she’s gaga,” she sums up happily, in perfect French – the language in which her parents loved each other. His pedigree, moreover, does not lack dogs. His mother ? Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, blowing the famous “fire under the ice” specific to Hitchcockian icons. His father ? The Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, hiding, under his cassock of “pope of neorealism”, a pronounced taste for life and speed – “dad was a great racer” , recalls Isabella, mischievously rolling his pupils.
Enough to marry, with rare ease, the opposites. This gift caught the eye of Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, who dates it back a long way: very early on, Isabella learned to contribute to the common pot – she who, before sharing her talent and her beauty with the whole world, had to make room for his twin sister, Isotta, in his mother’s womb. The actress feels particularly “ Alice’s accomplice,” she says, having fun with the rhyme. Polyglots, both live in the countryside, in central Italy for Rohrwacher, on the East Coast of the United States for Rossellini. The 41-year-old filmmaker remembers discovering her older self on television, from the time when she interviewed the New York avant-garde for a famous Italian show. A futuristic apparition, rewinds the daughter of beekeepers, in reverse of this Italy where the past, when it is not sold off, so often proves overwhelming.
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