Lea Giunchi – Matchless in Italy

Lea e il gomitolo
(aka “Lea und ihr Knäuel”, German version)
R: Unknown. D: Lea Giunchi, Giuseppe Gambardella, Lorenzo Soderini. P: Società Italiana Cines. It 1913

About Lea Giunchi
During her comic career, Lea partnered with such important comedy actors as Ferdinand Guillaume (Tontolini), Raymond Frau (Kri Kri) and Giuseppe Gambardella (Checco). But her personality as an actress was so exuberant and her physical ability so effervescent that she soon became the principal of a comedy series entitled after her own name: produced by Cines, the ‘Lea’ series counts a dozen titles, covering the years between 1910 and 1916. (…) Giunchi’s acting peculiarity consisted in her ability to combine two different aspects in one single characterization: she made use of her body in a very free way, yet at the same time she also managed to be extremely charming and feminine. (…) Lea made use of both the free and unprejudiced movements of her body and a coquettish femininity: this was quite a revolutionary combination of elements for the time, and Giunchi was the first, and probably the only actress to introduce it in Italian cinema.

Lea’s comedies were made in the same period when the Vamp and the Diva myths were being established, when even a small piece of skin revealed on the screen was enough to intrigue and scandalize both women and men. Just at the same time, Lea’s performances were made of jumps and somersaults and funny circles in which she appeared not just as a beautiful woman, but as the one and only owner of her charming, as well as fairly undressed body. In Lea e il gomitolo (1913) Giunchi destroys her parents’ whole apartment by desperately searching for a lost ball of wool: her frenzy movement, quite similar to a demoniac possession, is a metaphor for Lea’s desperate search for the only female identity she knows and can imagine; by destroying the apartment, she conquers both her right to read in peace and the possibility of an alternative female identity.”
Marzia Ruta: Lea Giunchi: The Story of a Lost Comical Body. Women and the Silent Screen VI Dipartimento di Musica e Spettacolo – Conferenze. 12.5.2010.

605-Lea Giunchi