It’s that time of year again! In Diva December, now in its fourth edition, I look at examples of the ‘diva film’, or the genre of decadent female-led melodramas that were a mainstay of Italian cinema of the 1910s. I’ve outlined the diva film genre here before—take a look, if you’d like the basics!
I’ll be covering two or three specific films, but first: some eye candy. A few months ago I posted some rainbow mosaic images I’d made, using a script I wrote that takes screencaps at regular intervals throughout a video file, arranges them in hue order, and then outputs a combinatory grid of the results. Well, I couldn’t resist to give diva films the same treatment – so here are a few of the best results.
The great Carnevalesca (Cines 1918), starring Lyda Borelli, makes a true rainbow:
A more subdued palette for Caino (Corona, 1918):
Per amore di Jenny (Cines 1915), with Pina Menichelli, is heavy on the lurid yellow.
While Il fuoco (Itala 1915) predictably leans on warm reds and oranges.
The image generated from Borelli vehicle Madame Tallien (Palatino 1916) suffers from the fact that the available digital copy is a VHS transfer with washed out blacks, but still shows a lovely range of colours.
And a sneak peak for a film you’ll see more of soon: