An Italian Carnival Tragedy

La maschera pietosa
D: Alfredo Bertone, Erna Hornak, Anna Lazzarini. P: Società Anonima Ambrosio Torino. It 1914
Print: Nederlands Film Museum / Jean Desmet collection
Dutch titles

“Marcel (Alfredo Bertone) is an artist who is neglecting his wife Julia (Anna Lazzarini) in favour of their younger neighbour Lucy (Erna Hornak) who lives with her elderly mother (Annetta Ripamonti). The carnival is coming to Turin and Marcel asks Lucy to accompany him which she does dressed as a Pierrot. There are superb scenes of the carnival. (…) Julia is distraught and all the more so when she sees the couple sneak out again for more fun. There’s a particularly effective shot of Marcel and Lucy high on a merry-go-round, the thronging masses of old Turin far below reminding you of how advanced pre-War Italian and Turinese cinema was. But tragedy is about to strike as Julia hears Lucy’s mother fall ill. Realising that she is near death she dresses herself as a Pierrot so that she can be Lucy tending to her mother’s final moments – she need not die alone. Lucy and Marcel return to find Julia at the bedside saying prayers having lit candles in tribute to the dead. In the midst of this selfless act Lucy returns Marcel to his wife and the couple leave in unity as the young woman cries for her loss…”