Directed by Jacques Lipkau Goyard & Marco Kuveiller / Reviewed by Riya Saha
It was who made Fellini famous not the other way around – Anita Ekberg
Ciao Anita is a film on the life of Anita Ekberg a famous Swedish actor known for her sensuality. The film is shot in her final days nearby Rome, where she was confined to a wheelchair. Anita Ekberg spoke about her life how her life kept alternating between hilarity, sadness, and dreams.
She was married twice and how she loved her freedom and independence even during her illness and aging years. Her friends completed the movie after her passing and the film turned out to be part of the best independent documentaries ever shot.
Anita Ekberg, (Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg), Swedish-born actress born Sept. 29, 1931, in Italy emerged as an international sex symbol for her portrayal of an irresistibly alluring American movie star in Federico Fellini’s La dolce vita (1960), in particular for a scene in which she waded into Rome’s Trevi Fountain, clad in a low-cut black evening gown, and summoned the film’s protagonist, played by Marcello Mastroianni, to join her.
Anita started her career as a fashion model after she had won the beauty pageant in Sweden. Soon after, the crowned beauty left Sweden for the United States to compete for the Miss Universe crown. Although she didn’t speak English, Anita Ekberg entered six most beautiful finalists.
Anita’s explanation of her first meet with Hughes is that when she went to meet him in his hotel room, everything around was set in black, and since she could not speak English she asked the translator who is this strange man? In the United States, Anita met Hollywood producer Howard Hughes, who advised her to change her nose, teeth, and name (he said “Ekberg” was too difficult to pronounce).
Future symbol of lush beauty Anita Ekberg wisely refused – “when I become famous people will learn to pronounce my name, and if I don’t, then the name will not make any sense”.
Ekberg modeled as a teenager in Sweden, and in the early 1950s, she relocated to the U.S., where she soon began appearing in small parts in movies. You can get the idea of how pretty and sensual she is even when she has aged, she is beautiful and her way of explaining her life will surely make you fall in love with her.
Every bit of the movie is shot at the perfect pace, whether Anita speaks about her own life, or it showing the records of the past events. In a part of the Film Anita says that she got separated from her husband because it was getting impossible for her to stay in a relationship.
She loved her freedom more. She had a three-year affair with Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli and was married twice. Her first husband was Anthony steel, a British boxer- turned actor. She married him in Florence in 1956 but realised soon after that he was a violent alcoholic. They divorced three years later. In 1963 she married B-movie actor Rik Van Nutter and set up a shipping business with him. The marriage lasted 12 years.
“When I told him I wanted a divorce he stole everything I owned,” Ekberg recalled. “He emptied three bank accounts of mine. He stole my yacht, my outboard motorboat. He stole my Ferrari. He stole my villa and all the art objects and silver and furniture, including my wardrobe. I had a cargo ship going around Singapore. He stole that as well.” After divorcing him she posed for Playboy.
Jacques Lipkau Goyard got the chance to meet Anita in 1971 he was young, she called him home and offered him coffee, and said she needs to see her parents and cannot work in 27th and 29th.
Her first credited role was as a Venusian guard in Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953). In 1956 Ekberg won a Golden Globe award for a new star of the year for her performance as a Chinese villager in Blood Alley (1955; starring John Wayne and Lauren Bacall). Other movies, in which she was generally cast in roles that emphasized her statuesque, buxom physique, include War and Peace (1956) and Boccaccio ’70 (1962).
She recalled her memories with Fellini, and her wife, how she kept in contact with them. She was loved and cared for all her friends because she believed that life is short and you must keep in touch with everyone. It was touchy how her friends Gwen perry Jacques Lipkau Goyard & Marco Kuveiller recalled her funeral and surely her passing away was a big loss for the industry.
Anita in her own words said: ‘It is good to grow old with your face it has its fashion, with wrinkles or no wrinkles, why should I change it, I don’t see any reason for it. I think it is foolish because you do not know what’s going to come out after the operation.”
She cannot mention anything other than the dreams. And the scene fades out with her smiling face.
I am deeply touched by the execution of the movie, awed by her beauty and her sensuality. She is truly an inspiration for us. Of course, this movie is a tribute to the diva and also brilliantly executed.