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THE UNDIGNIFIED OLD LADY

France, 1965 (MIFF 1966, Programme 5)

Director: René Allio

A short story by the dramatist Bertolt Brecht marks the directorial debut of René Allio, the well-known painter and set designer who has previously made a number of shorts. The film is about an old lady who conquers olds age. Madame Bertini, after living for 68 years in a respectable bourgeois fashion, decides to enjoy herself. The leading role is played by the 80-year-old actress, Sylvie, who is the incarnation of green old age.

Allio's straightforward direction contrasts the greedy respectability of the rest of the family with the generosity and adventurousness of the grandmother who befriends a prostitute, aligns with her grandson who wants to be a pop singer, buys a car and joins an anarchist cell. Skillfully, and without sentimentality, the director tells her story in a deeply moving film.

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