Valerio Zurlini’s GIRL WITH A SUITCASE
The emotions run high in this follow up to Zurlini’s war torn love story Violent Summer. The beautiful Claudia Cardinale (Once Upon A Time In The West) stars as Aida, a lonely, desperate prostitute who drifts from one uncaring lover to the next. After being ditched flat by her latest “boyfriend” Marcello Fainardi (Corrando Pani), she begins searching for him. Marcello is a rich kid who lives outside the city. When he arrives home his younger brother Lorenzo (Jaques Perrin) learns about his trist with Aida and he refers to her as an “idiot”. Aida calls the house several times looking for Marcello who gave her a false last name. She then shows up at the house and Marcello tells Lorenzo to get rid of her. When Lorenzo sees her face he immediately feels bad. Then like clockwork, where Marcello had left off, Lorenzo picks things right up.
The film is a rollercoaster of emotions as Lorenzo and Aida form an uneasy relationship. While he clearly is in love, she is not and simply uses him. The interesting thing about Claudia Cardinale’s character is the way she manipulates everyone around her. As soon as you think she actually feels something real, she pulls away emotionally. We can see that Aida is a deeply damaged person who will never be able to truly love someone. The last scene of the film says so much about her personality and her mindset.
There is a great little cameo by Gian Maria Volonte, who movie fans will know from Sergio Leone’s Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For A Few Dollars More (1965). Volonte plays Aida’s estranged musician husband and even he doesn’t want her around!
The film looks gorgeous thanks to the restoration by distributor No Shame Films. The black and white cinematography by Tino Santoni and the seamless direction by Zurlini are both spectacular. The gray backgrounds of the Italian skies and the ocean give the film an almost dreamlike appearance. Both Violent Summer and Girl With A Suitcase introduced me to yet another great Italian filmmaker that I never knew about before. This is one reason I love watching movies. You may have dry spells when certain films don’t grab your interest but if you can find that one gem, it can completely re-energize you. These two classic films certainly did that for me!