Biography of Francesca Bertini (1888-1985)

Italian film actress born in Florence on April 11, 1888 and died in Rome on October 13, 1985. Real name Elena Seracini Vitiello, was perhaps the most representative of the great divas of Italian silent cinema.


His early years passed in the city of Naples, where stressed very soon as an actress in the functions of the new theatre. At the age of sixteen debuted in the cinema, in a small role of the goddess of the Sea (1904), although it was his work in Il trovatore (1910), which definitively marked her film figure at the heart of the d'Art (FAI) Italian Film producer.

In just ten years dazzled Italian and foreign viewers with its beauty and its large stage projection. He/She was hired by Baldassare Negroni ("Celio") Film to intervene in such films as among the flames/Idyll tragic (1912), Emilio Ghione and, shortly afterwards, the producer Giuseppe Barattolo hired it to intervene in his films (he even named his production company "Bertini Films"). This producer was, which consolidated its prestige based on intense advertising campaigns that spread the face of the star that most caught our attention between the Italian divas of the time.

During the ten years rivaled Lyda Borelli, although the image of Francesca Bertini was always much more interesting to the male audience and was the universe of the diva that dominated much of the 1910s Italian productions. In this context, the high salaries of these actresses largely marked the kind of production that were (the Chronicles indicate that Francesca had an annual salary of over one million lire of the time).

The Bertini gave a personal touch to all the roles played and imposed a refined and elegant style in the dressing room of his films. His peculiar sense of image allowed him to assume a relationship of great understanding with the camera and the directors, as well as its intervention in each project - was notable primarily for care to maximize the image expected of it - the Viewer. He/She had as fellow cast and director, among others, to Gustavo Serena (Assunta Spina, 1915), and his work was dominated by a large dose of dramatic naturalness. At the end of the 1910s, he/she worked with Roberto Roberti, father of Sergio Leone, who directed her in several films and was the director who best knew how to control his controversial attitude; Francesca Bertini was not an actress comfortable but rather the opposite, attitude that not marred his great capacity for improvisation.

In just a decade intervened in more than seventy films, most of them dramas that end in tragedy, passionate stories - always caused by jealousy - in which women bearing the brunt (they commit suicide, die and they are killed for different reasons).

On the verge of signing in 1921 a contract in Hollywood with the Fox, surprisingly, he/she decided to leave the cinema for awhile to marry the count Paul Cartier, a Swiss banker, with whom he/she settled in Paris. However, the actress also said that the artificial light which dominated in all its shoots had been about to leave it blind.

His first sound job was wife of one night (1930), film which were filmed several versions - in German, French and Italian - and it was the protagonist of the versions filmed by Amleto Palermi and Marcel L'herbier. Four years later, the own L'herbier directed in the second version of Odette. In his reunion with the cinema of the 1930s, Francesca Bertini confirmed his interpretive quality to prove that nothing had affected him away from the dishes. Perfectly adapted to the sound and was not forced to having to leave the profession as many others unable to overcome the mute to sound transit.

Years later he/she sporadically appeared in several films. During the second world war he/she lived in Madrid, made that you allowed him to intervene in Barcelona in the production of Dora, the spy (1943), at the time that played in theatre the Lady of the Camellias, which won one of the hottest hits of the moment. He/She appeared for the last time on the big screen in the movie Novecento (1976), by Bernardo Bertolucci.

In 1983, Gianfranco Mingozzi filmed a documentary about his life, L' last diva, which offers an interesting image to understand your figure and one of the most glorious periods of Italian cinema. Unfortunately, many of the films of Francesca Bertini have disappeared. He/She is also the author of the autobiography entitled the rest does not count.


1904: The goddess of the mar.1910: Il trovatore; Re Lear; Il mercante di Venezia; Lucrezia Borgia.1911: Manon Lescaut; Tristano and Isolde; Giulietta e Romeo; The contessa di Challant.1912: between the tragic fire/Idyll; Rosa di Tebe; The itinerant suonatrice; Il pappagallo della zia Berta; Per the sua giogia; The Vigilia di Natala; Mona Lisa and the nave.1913: tears and smiles; History of a Pierrot; The teacher; The cricca dorata; Bufera; Salome.1914: Mother; Rose e spine; The principessa straniera; Sangue bleu; Il veleno della parola; L'onesta che uccide; Nelly the gigolette; The canzone; Per il blasone; Assunta Spina (and Co-Director); Terra promessa.1915: the Lady of the camellias; Eroismo d'amore; Nella fornace; It colpa altrui; Diana, l'affascinatrice; Il campestro degli Habsburg; Yvonne; Il sopravvissuto.1916: Odette; Vittima dell'ideale; Il patto; The Pearl of the cinema; Malignant riflesso; Nel gorgo della vita; Fedora; Don Pietro Caruso; L'educanda monella; I carbonari; Destino.1917: La piccola fonte; It maleas; The Clemenceau process; L' ingénue; L'amazone masquee.1918; L'ira (and producer); Eugenia Grandet; Mariunta; L'orgoglio; The donna nuda; Tosca; Frou-Frou; Le sette peccati capitali.1919: the sfinge; Spiritismo; The principessa; The piovra; The principessa Giorgio; Lussuria; Marion; Lisa Fleuron; L' envy; Legge; Avarizia; L'accidia; Anima allegra; The gola (and producer). 1920: L'ombra; Last sogno; Maddalena Ferat; Ferita; The contessa Sara; The diavolo.1921 giovinezza: La fanciulla di Amalfi; Donna, il diavolo, il tempo; Conchita; The Viper in; Le pacte.1928: Odette; Montecarlo.1929: Tu m' t'appartiens!; The possession.1930: a noche.1934 woman: Odette.1943: Dora, the espia.1957: sud niente di nuovo.1969: Una ragazza di Praga.1976: Novecento.