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Looking for Sophia (DVD Review)

5 Jul, 2011 By: Ashley Ratcliff

Street 7/12/11
Victory Multimedia/Mirabella Films
$29.95 DVD
Not rated.
In Italian with English subtitles

Looking for Sophia offers viewers an abounding portrait of the woman who captivated audiences with her stunning beauty: Sophia Loren.

Born in Rome in 1934, Sofia Scicolone, daughter of actress Romilda Villani, was a natural when it came to modeling and acting. The camera loved her, making her rise to stardom seemingly inevitable, as she took on the stage name Sofia Lazzaro and eventually Sophia Loren.

Her humble beginnings in Pozzuoli, Italy, gave Loren a commendable work ethic, as she never was late on set. Emerging during the heyday of Italian cinema in the 1950s and ’60, she proved herself in Two Women, playing a woman who was brutally raped while trying to protect her daughter in war-torn Italy. Loren earned an Academy Award for Best Actress for the role. It has been widely noted that leading man Carey Grant proposed to her and actor Marlon Brando found her irresistible.

While Loren, still beautiful at 76, has lived a lavish life, it hasn’t been without its tribulations. Loren briefly was jailed for tax evasion, was the target in a harrowing armed robbery at a New York hotel and found herself in a love triangle when the only man she loved, Carlo Ponti, was married. Their solution to the conundrum was to become French citizens since France, back then, was one of few nations that recognized divorces.

Looking for Sophia is engaging, as it explores Loren’s philosophy on life as well as her many faces: heroine, activist, mother, cook, an inspiration. For someone who didn’t experience Loren in her prime, it was rewarding to watch the documentary and see her shine in some of her most famous parts.

It makes you wonder which actress of our day filmmakers will be chronicling decades from now in similar fashion.

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