*Hommage Cinemateca Brasileira*
Adapted from Salvatore di Giacomo’s play of the same name, ASSUNTA SPINA is set in Naples, and it vividly captures that Parthenopean city’s living breath and deepest spirit. Naples is not just a location, it is the soul of the film. The city is mirrored on screen, bringing to life its anonymous alleyways, spare interiors and street markets, all the places that most define its identity. [...] But especially, it is in the fleeting views, wide shots, and background glimpses of the urban landscape that Naples and its inhabitants are revealed most nakedly to the camera. The dramatic power and candor of these moments heightens the impression of truth that is one of the essential stylistic qualities of the film.
[...] Francesca Bertini essentially directed the film: adapting the text, pointing out suitable filming locations, and even operating the camera when she was not performing in the scene. Aided by her inseparable, expert cameraman Alberto Carta, Bertini displayed an unexpected talent even in this untested role, as is evident in the intensely dramatic quality of the images.
Bertini’s responsibilities as a director in no way impeded her acting: as Assunta, Bertini gave a performance of extraordinary caliber. She infuses the role of this young woman overwhelmed by destiny with unbridled expressive power. Over the course of the film, the actress’s face and body are transformed, visually embodying the contrasting desires that drive Assunta and lead to the progressive ruination of her life.
Giovanni Lasi, in: Dive! DVD booklet, Bologna 2018