Dalida Review – French Bio-Pic Captivates

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Dalida, from Pathe and TF1 Films Productions, presents a beautiful and heartbreaking story of the 1950’s French idol, who over thirty years sold nearly 170 million records worldwide and enchanted adorning fans and charming audiences all over the globe.

Written and directed by Lisa Azuelos, Dalida stars Sveva Alviti as Dalida, Riccardo Scamarcio as Orlando, Jean-Paul Rouve as Lucien Morisse, Nicolas Duvauchelle as Richard Chanfray and Alessandro Borghi as Luigi Tenco.

After a brief introduction into the characters into this mega-star’s life, as the film opens in 1967, with Dalida entering what one assumes is the standing room she and her lover kept, the door shuts and then the an inner circle of people are speaking with a psychiatrist attempting to understand her actions.

Each member of the inner circle, brings the film back to the time Dalida, played by newcomer Sveva Alviti, was in their life which is how we met each of the characters.

We finally reach Lucien Morisse, played by Jean Paul Rouve, and we are back at the beginning of Dalida’s career. It is Paris 1954 and Dalida was singing Entragere au Paradis at the Olympia theater. We finally meet the lovely, sensual Egypt-born Italian singer, young, naive, charming and for one night transforms the world with her stunning vocals and captivating beauty. She would hypnotize the audience, men and women gave her a standing ovation. Her singing career was launched.

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In the audience that evening, Lucien Morisse, a married music businessman who looked at Dalida and saw the future. Soon he and his wife divorced and Dalida and Lucien were married. Along the same time her second single Bambino launched and became an instant success. It stayed on the charts around the world for 46 weeks. She and Lucien were in love, the career was bursting. Life was good.

Soon Dalida was releasing multiple languages and conquering the world. The film chronicles Dalida’s life. After a party at Cannes the tabloids carried pictures of Dalida with a younger man and she returned home and Lucien asked her if they were true. The two divorced.

The film is a mix of Dalida'ssalacious and tragic personal life and her unwavering professionalism. She remained loyal to many who had helped her in the beginning of her career. Often returning to her second home, the Olympia in Paris, when she commanded larger venues and bigger fees, to spend the evenings with loyal Parisians who, non-judgmentally stayed with her, when times were good or bad and whom remained loyal.

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Dalida, progresses with the times and soon she leaves her label and her brother, Orlando, played by Riccardo Scamarcio begins to manage her career. The success is already there and the two continue to dominate. Her protective brother shields her from much. He remains loyal.

The most prevalent pattern in her life remains the suicides of nearly every important male in her life. Beginning with her father to every lover she had, her husband Lucien Morisse, committed suicide after the two divorce. Her Italian lover Luigi Tenco, whom she adored, and became engaged to marry, committed suicide over his fading career. Richard Chanfray, her lover from 1972 to 1981 inhaled carbon monoxide. A close male friend, whom she helped establish himself, jumped from a building.

One would think as she was and remains the world most successful female singing talent, she would be happy, and as the music played during the last scene, she is sorrowfully unhappy and cannot bear the agony.

One wonders if choices she made throughout her life played a role in her sorrow? An abortion left her infertile, her families tragic life in Egypt, the unquenchable thirst for fame was conquered, fading I suppose would be the tragedy.

This glittery biopic faithfully chronicles the difficulties of being a liberated woman in a less liberated era as well as the ferocious passions of a life in which despite all the triumphs, awards, accolades, tributes, global fame and the realization of every dream, save one, suicide becomes a recurring theme.

The film is a musical in as much as the most raved and lavish performances are recreated. The score was created by Jean-Paul Petit and Laurent Perez Del Mar.

The U.S. premiere of the Dalida was held at the recent COLCOA French Film Festival to rave reviews. A U.S. release is planned for later in 2017.

Dalida is an enthralling, mesmerizing, fascinating film. From the beginning through to the end credits it is riveting. It’s more than the stunning beauty of the newcomer Alviti who delivers an attention grabbing and star making performance. It is teh ensemble performance that creates magic. See it. In French with English subtitles.

Images courtesy of IMDB depicting Dalida played by Sveva Alviti and her brother Orlando played by Riccardo Scamarcio.