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December 8, 2011 / jlmicek

Claudia Cardinale: “Fellini told me I was his muse, that I gave him inspiration.”

The legendary Italian film star talks to The Guardian’s Steve Rose about working with Federico Fellini, Warner Herzog and the great Marcello Mastrioanni.

Now 73, Cardinale hasn’t lost a trick. It’s a fascinating interview.

Here’s the nut graf:

“You could forgive Cardinale for now languishing in Sunset Boulevard-style retirement, trading off her memories, collecting yet more lifetime achievement awards, and complaining how it’s the pictures that got small. In fact, she’s done the opposite. She’s never stopped working. In recent years she has worked in Tunisian, Spanish, French, Italian, American, Portuguese and Turkish movies. The latter of which, a cross-cultural comedy called Signora Enrica, explains her presence at London’s Turkish film festival. Cardinale plays a man-hating Italian landlady who teaches a callow young Turkish student about life and language. (“I was a bombshell. My breasts were better than Claudia Cardinale’s,” her character says, establishing a nice line between self-reference and self-deprecation.) This week, she is in Venice shooting her next film, Effie, a British study of John Ruskin and his young wife, written by and starringEmma Thompson. “I like to be active,” she says. “And not only cinema, fighting for women’s groups. I’ve been a Unesco ambassador for a long time, defending diversity, promoting Aids awareness.” And she still sees those old friends who survive, she says, such as Alain Delon, with whom she watched Martin Scorsese’s restoration of The Leopard in Cannes last year. “Alain was crying all the time, saying, ‘We are the only ones left alive. Everyone else is dead.'”

Read the full story here.

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