Have you ever wondered what makes a person “sensual?” I don’t mean the superficial qualities of figure and face.
I am referring to elusiveness — a mysterious attractiveness, unforced; a wise naivité. It’s the enigma that arises from the inner core. For me, it can be summed up in two words: Anna Magnani, the Italian film actress. She died the year I turned 18. She was only 65, nine years older than I am today, but in her movies she lives on.
She seems to always portray women who are primal and of the earth. Whether she was the garrulous prostitute in Mamma Roma, or the overburdened widow in The Rose Tattoo or the actress desperate for a good time on New Year’s Eve in The Passionate Thief, her sexiness exudes: her humanity and her voluptuousness; her smile and her vulnerability; her compassion. She may be an over-the-top volcano, but she is never unreal. So what if she was merely a figment of someone else’s imagination. She never could have been as sexy as those characters are unless she possessed it.
And so my New Year’s resolution is to see more Anna Magnani movies.