La califfa (1970)

The workforce of a factory owned by the patriarchal boss Doberdo are on strike. During a police raid to break the strike, one of the workers is killed.  The dead man’s wife, La Califfa, confronts Doberdo several times. On each occasion, the factory owner and the widow feel strangely drawn to one another…

Director: Alberto Bevilacqua.
Stars: Ugo Tognazzi, Romy Schneider, Massimo Farinelli, Marina Berti, Guido Alberti, Roberto Bisacco, Gigi Ballista, Massimo Serato, Eva Brun, Luigi Casellato, Ernesto Colli.


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  1. Chris Deile
    July 23, 2019

    Love “La Califfa” clips on YouTube. The tragic melancholy motivated me to compare it to an Anchorage Daily News commentary on senseless bear deaths (property owners killing bears for no good reason, etc.) in a letter published in the ADN last year or so. Love Romy Schneider, and recently learned Ugo Tognazzi was in ‘La Cage aux Folles’; hadn’t known that, another very enjoyable film (the original at least, haven’t yet seen the remake with Robin Williams).

  2. Chris Deile
    July 29, 2019

    Wow. Just watched La Califfa in full for the first time. Thanks for the English subtitles. “In his blood were ideals, love, rage. And now it’s drying on the ground like the piss of a dog!” Tragic melancholy and dreadful existentialism. When I was a teenager working at a fly-in fishing lodge, the pilot shot a black bear from a tree stand (there were two black bears eating regularly from a compost pile). Couldn’t understand why he found it necessary to do that–the bears were not at all aggressive or displaying any threat. He had me help dump the bear into the middle of the river from a boat late at night. Watching that dead bear sink down into the water is the same exact feeling I get when viewing this film. And the ultra-sad Ennio Morricone soundtrack brings tears to my eyes. Thank you very much for posting this film online.

  3. Chris Deile
    August 1, 2019

    One more thought here if I might be allowed….Just submitted a letter to the Laramie Boomerang and again cited ‘La Califfa’. Though instead of referring to the “dreadful existentialism” (in comment above), mentioned how much I appreciated the “vulgar existentialism” contained in that opening line. Vulgar is a better description, as the film emphasizes life’s vulgarity in other places as well in portraying the realism involved.

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