What time was it? So, what time was it when the heart came out? Romy was alone at the table writing a letter of apology – she could not arrange a meeting the next day with a journalist, she had to cancel, she regretted it – and then her hand slipped, the letter was never completed, only long erasure remained on paper . Sometimes death is just that, a tired heart that stops, a crossover, and a photograph of a smiling little boy in a frame next to it. It was May 29, 1982.
The story began forty-three years ago in Vienna, an Austrian city then under German rule. Romi Schneider was born Rosemary Magdalena Albach into a family of acrobats. And this will affect the whole childhood: in fact, a little girl is a burden for her parents, who are passionate about their profession, their celebrities, their tours, their filming. He was sent to grow up in a green chalet in Bavaria, but it was not far from the eagle’s nest of Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s headquarters; it is what causes you painful memories and a lasting sense of guilt for life.
The fickle father eventually leaves. This will be Romi’s first meeting with separation. She discovers that loneliness is never far away and, depending on the moment, will consider her an enemy or make her a friend. Locked up in a boarding school run by English nuns, she learns, perhaps, posture, the desire to send conventions will surely collapse.
But glory awaits the teenager, it is a sublime curse. Romi, driven into a corner by a despotic mother and seeking revenge for a broken destiny, becomes Sissy. For eternity. Look at her with her crinoline dresses, her overweight, her flashy tiaras, in a kitschy setting full of syrup dialogues: her success is phenomenal, but Romi doesn’t like corsets, she goes to Paris where she’s waiting. Her new lover, a beast named Alain Delon.
She was charming, she is becoming beautiful. She was innocent, love makes her sexy. She was a beautiful puppet, she affirms ambition, demand.
And it was Delon who introduced him to Visconti, perhaps the first to realize that she was not only photogenic and that behind her green gaze, so clear, was hidden – already – so much doubt that under her laughter throat, head thrown back, you need to hear thunderstorms, and that, despite the obvious carelessness of her youth, she knows what it means to be an outcast: she, an exile who was once adored in her homeland, has now become a renegade.
From this relationship with the Italian master remained a famous cliché: ogre in the background, she is in full frame, with a dazzling, youthful, irresistible smile, she holds a camera in her hand. This is Rome in 1961, a time of possible happiness.
In the process, she tries an adventure in Hollywood, where she often visits Otto Preminger and Jack Lemmon, but quickly returns as the person returns from his illusions. In fact, she can’t stand being far from the man she loves, all in her need to be protected, to invent a bright future for herself. Except that he leaves her for another. And she suffers to death.
Then she decides to dance sirtaki with Melina Mercury, her partner in the film “At ten-thirty in the evening in the summer”, and marry a Jewish director from Berlin, who will give birth to her son named David. What if she was finally satisfied? If his excitement is gone? Is being a mom her best role? She believed in it for a year and a half, ready to mourn the glory.
But Delon calls her back. They meet again five years after parting, as friends, for the legendary film “La Piscine”, a sentimental crossover where sensuality explodes. In a white one-piece swimsuit, sunburned skin, lustful, imposing. Here she is again in the sky. She will not leave him anymore.
1970s – his.
Everyone remembers her in Les Choses de la vie. She sits in front of a typewriter, only dressed in a bath towel that leaves her shoulders bare, she has made a fairly loose bundle, she is wearing glasses, Piccoli joins her from behind, she asks him for a synonym for a lie, a story, an impressive mise en abyme.
Everyone remembers her in The Old Cannon. She raises the veil of her hat to dip her lips into a glass of champagne, facing Noire, captivated by love, she radiates, she is graceful. Later, a flamethrower will petrify her against the wall.
Everyone remembers her in “The main thing is to love. In her nightgown, saddled by her husband, her face is filled with tears, and Rimmel flows, begging people to stop taking pictures of her: “I’m an actress, you know,” she says, “I can do good things.” “Dizziness.
Everyone remembers her in “Simple Story”, set in a noisy cafe, filmed almost without tricks by Claude Sote. She is an ordinary woman, she is all a woman.
Shining and wounded in turn, a mixture of pride and vulnerability, arrogant, clean and able to switch to violence, loss of self-control in a second. Years corrected his features, dug up his flaws.
Moreover, it is more and more like one’s own life, undermined by excesses, doubts. And tests. As she plays gloomier roles, torn characters, continues to play with boundaries, in her personal life men go, the body plays tricks with her, and, worst of all, her beloved son kills himself in horrific circumstances. However, she finds the strength (but where? From what grief? From what madness?) To remove “La Passante du sans-souci”, where she faces the unbearable past of Germany (to settle accounts) and a young man (as someone is terrified). Death will not be long.
We have movies left. But even more, we may still have elegance. Whether she’s expressing it with an ascot blouse and a straight skirt, or an open-backed dress, or bohemian outfits, wearing a low tuft in a certain way, raising the collar of her coat, or holding a cigarette. The Frenchwoman, preferably, was born a German. Sincere and unique. Guided by your heart, all the time before you let go, one May night, forty years ago. But God, what time was it?