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  • FringeNYC and How to Get There

    The New York International Fringe Festival [FringeNYC], celebrating its 14th Anniversary, is North America's largest multi-arts festival. More than 200 entries from theater companies worldwide will be presented over 16 days -  August 13-29 - in 20 venues. In addition, there're lots of subsidiary ones, such as FringeJR, FringeHIGH, FringeAL FRESCO, and FringeART.

    This year's fest will be interesting because there's the participation of movie stars and an Emmy winner.

    Bollywood fav, dashing Vivan Bhatena segues from the heavy action of his films and VJing for MTV India to do
    A Personal War, Stories of the Mumbai Terror Attacks [in 2008], a multimedia presentation with accounts from survivors; and after screaming at the top of her lungs [giving Fay Wray and Jessica Lange competition!] in the horror flick The Human Centipede, Ashley C. Williams will be singing/dancing [as well as co-producing] Spellbound!, an "epic musical adventure." Two-time Emmy winner Alexander "Sandy" Marshall directs American Gypsy, about conflict encountered building connections through sleight-of-hand based on deception.

    It's impossible to highlight all the entries, but some interesting titles are: All Day Suckers;
    the Bard's As You Like It [with eight actors essaying 12 parts]; Bunked!, a musical about the secrets, jealousies, and trysts of summer camp counselors; Dear Harvey, tales of Harvey Milk from those who knew him; Faye Lane's Beauty Shop Stories from a Texan who grew up in one; pasties, glitter, and drag are Friends of Dorothy: An Oz Cabaret; Hamlet Shut Up, a comedy, shuts the Bard up, but with music and puppets; Hip Hop High, a musical; and the heartbreak of New Orleans after the flood is explored in The Hurricane Katrina Comedy Festival.

    AAAJustInTime.jpgThen there's Julius Caesar: The Death of a Dictator, adapted from the Bard by Orson Welles and set to Metallica's music; Jurassic Parq, a musical; Just In Time - The Judy Holliday Story, "a fast-paced romp through the life of the original dumb blonde...featuring such cohorts as Orson Welles, Katherine Hepburn, Comden and Green, Gloria Swanson, and Jimmy Durante; Pigeons, Knishes and Rockettes; Pope!, a musical about a pontiff who's framed and exiled from the Vatican; Shine, a "burlesque" musical; 12 Incompetent Men (And Women!), 23 Feet in 12 Minutes: The Death and Rebirth of New Orleans; reality and fantasy collide in the two-hander The Twentieth-Century Way, based homosexual entrapment in 1914 Long Beach, CA; Veritas, based on a 1920 Harvard incident where students fell prey to the administrations's witch-hunt to purge homosexuals; and, among the many other plays/musicals/unique theatrical experiences/solo shows, When Lilacs Last, about two men struggling with abusive fathers, sexual orientation, and bigotry and set to Walt Whitman's poetry.

    Like so many arts groups, the Fringe is seeking financial help to survive. "Join the Fringe Producers' Circle with a $1,000 donation," invites Fringe producing A.D. Elena Holy, "and partake of the 16-day buffet FringeNYC provides with a VIP pass and exclusive e-mail reservation address for up to six additional guests. In addition, there'll be invitations to receptions and special events."  Industry members get an added bonus: a business card size ad on www.Fringe.org. To make a tax-deductible donation, make checks payable to The Present Company; send to 520 Eighth Avenue, Su. 311, New York, NY 10018.


    For the full roster, schedules, venues, ticket packages, program guides, maps, info on volunteering, Fringe Café hours, and much more, visit the Fringe Central box office or link to www.FringeNYC.org.

    FringeNY tkts purchased online not only assure admission but are $3 cheaper than those purchased at the box office and venues. Tkts can be picked up 15 minutes before performances from yellow-vested vols. Don't forget to vote for your favs.


    Let's Go to the Movies

    A stunning, mesmerizing Patricia Clarkson, as a seemingly independent fashion mag editor, and Sudanese/English-reared Alexander Siddig [
    Hamri Al-Assad on TV's 24; Clash of the Titans], as a former associate of her husband headline the lush, unrequited scenic romance melodrama Cairo Time. The film is directed by Syrian/[Egyptian-born] Canadian Ruba Nada and stunningly shot by Luc Montpellier in bustling Cairo [along the Nile and jawdropping Memphis with the pyramids and Sphinx as backdrops].

    aPClarksonCairoTimeColmHogan.jpgFollowing her breakout role in High Art [1998] as a drug-addicted German actress, fans of Clarkson have been waiting for another breakout role - even above-the-title stardom.

    What we've gotten are
    over 12 years of quantity supporting, often scene-stealing roles [The Green Mile, Far from Heaven, The Station Agent, Good Night and Good Luck, No Reservations, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Whatever Works, Shutter Island; and memorable recurring roles on TV's Murder One, Six Feet Under, and Fraiser] - albeit roles that have gained her respect and a following. Now, finally comes a star-making role.

    I'm not sure I buy Clarkson as portrayed, even though she portrays Juliette, a sophisticated Manhattan magazine editor, well. She arrives in mad Cairo to vacation with U.N. exec hubby only to find him off on some secret mission, then languishes in her hotel  waiting for the phone to ring. Editors I know, persons of quite independent means, would have tons of contacts flooding the suite with flowers, dinner party invites, and offers of service from lower echelon, maybe even high echelon U.N. employees, not to mention government representatives. Finally, and not a moment too soon, she's rescued from boredom by Tareq, a former associate of hubby. What follows are the insanity and beauty of one of the most fascinating cities in the world.

    It doesn't take but a couple of minutes for a smoldering chemistry to develop between J and T and soon J's trip is heading in a direction she hadn't imagined [not that it ever arrives at the station].

    aCairoTime.jpgMuch of the film is languid, but anyone who's spent time in Cairo knows that the heat, vastness of the city, the clogged traffic, throngs of people, and the constant attack of  vendors trying to sell you all manner of trinkets can make you quite languid. Here, languid never equals boredom. The film will never be a blockbuster, but it's a very entertaining and, more importantly, different film. It's lushly romantic and seductive without getting down and sure to be a movie women will flock to. If they drag their men along, I don't think they'll mind. It's not Sex and the City 2!

    On TV

     Move over Law & Order. Even though set in Chicago, and shot in L.A., The Good Wife, starring the superb Julianna Margulies, who's given fine support by Chris Noth, Christine Baranski, Josh Charles [original Hairspray; Murder in Mississippi], Joe Morton, and Titus Welliver, the casting department is employing a lot of well-known and stage and former stage actors, such as Michael Boatman, Dylan Baker, Kevin Conway, Alan Cuming, Zach Grenier, Terry Kinney, Karen Olivo, Mary Beth Peil, Martha Plimpton; and, in the roles of some scene-stealing judges, Joanna Gleason, Denis O'Hare, David Paymer, and Peter Riegert. 


    As intriguing and well-acted as The Good Wife is, Friday Night Lights, which has it Season Four finale tomorrow on NBC and may never been seen again on network TV, is as good as it gets. It has the best acting from a stellar and mostly young cast. Front and center are Emmy noms Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, as Coach Taylor and wife Tami, who anchor the series. They have strong support from Zach Gilford, Taylor Kitsch, Brad Leland, Jesse Plemons, Louanne Stephens, and Aimee Teegarden. They had strong support in earlier seasons from the much missed and stunning Minka Kelly and Adrianne Palicki. Also departed are Gaius Charles and Scott Porter, but you can't stay in high school forever.


    FNL3.jpgA great addition to last season's cast was Kim Dickens. This season's newcomers have proved to be welcome company: beautiful Madison Burge and Jurnee Smollett, Michael B. Jordan [giving a star-making performance], Barry Tubb [remember him opposite Mary Tyler Moor and Lynn Redgrave on Bway in Sweet Sue?], Lorraine Toussaint in one of the best roles of her career, even if we've only seen her in small doses, and Alicia Witt.


    There's a fifth season to come. Though quality and quite acclaimed, FNLs has had its ratings ups and downs. Season Five will be available on DirectTV. It's not known if NBC will eventually air it, as the network finally did this past year with a long-delayed Season Four. 


    Sizzle at Lincoln Center Film

    The Film Society of Lincoln Center is taking a huge departure today through Sunday from the screen classics and acclaimed art house films usually being screened at the Walter Reade Theatre [West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue] with Fuego: The Films of Isabel "Coca" Sarli, a three-day retrospective saluting the famed Argentine "Firecracker," whose films never saw wide distribution here.

    The series is curated by Daniela Bajar and Livia Bloom. "Growing up in Buenos Aires," says Ms. Bajar, "my sister and I did the dishes and laundry, then at midnight we'd watch Isabel Sarli's movies on television."

    Sra. Sarli is nicknamed "Coca" it is often said because of her love for Coca-Cola. "Of course, that's nonsense," she states emphatically. Maybe her male admirers began calling her that in tribute to her Coke-bottle-shaped figure.

    aSraIsabelSarliPoster69.jpgRavishing beauty Isabel Sarli, who says she's shy but never showed that trait onscreen, has come full circle. From condemnation by church and government, and having her films truncated by censors, now she's programmed on late-night TV and honored by the Argentine film industry and at film festivals. She turned 75 in July; but, without evidence of having any work done, looks much younger. After a long absence, she's returned to the screen. 

    Arroz con Leche [Rice and Milk], a comedy, was released throughout Latin America and Mexico in 2009; and Mis Dias con Gloria [My Days with Gloria], which costars her adopted daughter, Isabelita, also a beauty, will premiere in late September.

    Though largely unknown to contemporary American film audiences, La Coca's humor and sultry beauty brought her great renown in the Latin American cinema of the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

    "Fuego" translates from Spanish as "fire" and it's an apt title [and one of Senora Sarli's films being shown] for the woman known as "the Argentine firecracker."

    "A true screen goddess," says Richard Peña, program director for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, "Isabel Sarli brought a searing, larger-than-life quality to her roles that evoked a sense of freedom at a time of increasing repression throughout Latin America. For years, she's been the object of a fervent international cult and now we're delighted to introduce her work to American audiences."

    Isabel Sarli isn't a household name to today's U.S. moviegoers, as Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe might be to those of a certain generation; however, in the 60s into the 70s, she was one of world cinema's celebrated sex symbols - and the subject of condemnation and controversy. To her legions of male admirers, she was a goddess.

    She entered the pageant to select Miss Argentina in 1955, won [crowned no less by President Juan Peron], and went on to the U.S. [Long Beach, CA] to compete for Miss Universe. No one remembers the name of the winner, but for decades male audiences have remembered the name Isabel Sarli as the woman of their erotic dreams.

    Her ravishing beauty had her being compared to Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, and Elizabeth Taylor. On meeting director Armando Bo, who was soon being refered to as Agentina's answer to Russ Meyer, wanted to remake her as Brigitte Bardot. Sra. Sarli wasn't interested.

    "If I was to be an actress," she says, "I wanted to be an actress. Armando didn't take no for an answer easily. Bergman was all the rage at the time and he took me to see one of his films. He pointed out that while one of the actresses was nude, she was also acting."

    Bo wrote/co-wrote, produced, directed, and often composed music for 99% of the films he and La Coca made. He shot, according to Sra. Sarli, "simple stories, quite often based on true incidents" in Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela Many films reached limited American [NY, LA, SF, Chicago] and European and Asian markets [Sra. Sarli was boffo box office in Japan].

    A distributor was once asked why Sra. Sarli was so popular in Japan, and he quipped, "One of Isabel's breasts larger than the average Japanese male's head!"

    La Coca certainly enjoyed showing them off, and Bo photographed them in as many endless angles as possible. Needless to say, though some of the films pushed buttons and certainly raised ire, only one comes close to being anything except what they are.

    As important as the Lincoln Center Film series is to introduce Isabel Sarli to a wider audience here, cinephiles will be amazed at what Bo accomplished. Though a hack and a terrible actor [son Victor was only a step behind him in the acting department], he was a hack who pushed boundaries and not the way, say, Russ Meyer did.

    He first became controversial by introducing what was then considered offensive street language in his most celebrated pre-Sarli film, Pelota de trapo [1948; English title: Cloth Ball], a gritty B&W very much inspired by his admiration for DiSica, whose Bicycle Thief was released about the same time.

    In the Sarli films, he showed drug use, introduced blatant homosexual [male and female], introduced gay marriage and cross-dressing themes. Bo was never subtle. He was an indie before indie was popular and he made films on shoestring budgets.

    One of his cinematographers pointed out that to save money, Bo would reverse negatives in the camera to obtain overlapping shots instead of going through the costly process of sending the negatives to the lab. One of the most jarring things about his films was the heavy-handed use of organ music that signals just about anything modestly, or imodestly, dramatic. 

    But as long as Isabel Sarli starred, no one [save the censors] cared. Her film premieres in Latin countries drew the type of crowds one sees on Times Square on New Year's Eve.     

    Save for those individuals, mostly men, who were brave enough to approach the box offices of the Rialto and Apollo Theatres on the "old" Times Square at 42nd Street, this is a rare opt for audiences here to experience Isabel Sarli red hot films that scandalized Latin sensibilities to the degree that her films were butchered by the censors or banned outright. However, in one film, you that woman onscreen may not always be Sra. Sarli.

    Peña recalled that several years ago LCF screened La Dama Regresa [The Lady Is Back] [1996], loosely based on Durrenmatt's The Visit. "However, that was a one-off, her only appearance on our screen till now. This is a first, a dedicated series that will give audiences an overview of her films."

    aaaaaIsabelSarliStunningWClothes.jpgThere're five films featuring new translations and prints from Sra. Sarli's own collection, and a recent documentary.

    Some of the films are not the ones exhibited in, say, Sweden; but are sanitized versions with alternate takes with some aspect of clothing, tiny though it might be. They are:

    August 6 and 7: Carne [Flesh], Screenplay/Director: Armando Bo [Argentina, 1968]. Sarli, in probably her most famous role, is "a virginal worker in a meat processing plant who gets put on the slab, and much more." 

    The film has been called "a masterpiece of kitsch." In one sequence, Sarli is roughed up [actually gang raped] in the back of a cold storage truck, empty except for a cot and a handtowel. After several guys have their way, leering and drooling, Sarli, trying to cover herself with the handtowel, in tones of high drama asks, "What are your intentions?" She's rescued, albeit a bit too late, by her lover, "the only man capable of seeing her pure soul through her delicious meat."

    Bo told a film exec that he shot scenes inside the truck while it was being driven around downtown Buenos Aires. On the exterior was a sign reading Carne en Transito [Meat in Transit].  The film also stars Victor Bo, the director's son.

    August 6 and 7: La Diosa Virgen [The Virgin Goddess], D: Dirk De Villiers [Argentina/South Africa, 1975]. The film has been described as a reworking of the 1935 film She, based on H. Ridder Haggard's novel "of a beautiful woman bathed in flame who lived 500 years." Sarli plays a shipwrecked woman found on a beach by African tribesmen who mistake her for a goddess. She can enjoy eternal life as long as she remains a virgin. However, on arrival, adventurer Bo has other plans for her. Partially filmed in Kruger National Park. Some dialogue is, supposedly, Swahilli.

    August 6 and 8: Desnuda en la Arena [Naked on the Sand], S/D: Bo, who co-stars with son Victor [Argentina/Panama, 1969]. Sarli plays a hard-working mother who stripteases and schemes her way through lush Panama to support her young son. Eye-popping costumes by Paco Jaumandreu, who had a long association designing lavish outfits for Sarli. He had previously supplied couture for Evita Peron during her acting career. 

    Shooting the film, Bo used guerilla tactics long before they were popular with independents. In the sequence where Sarli is swimming off  the causeway that leads islands at the Pacific Ocean entrance to the Panama Canal. It was a high security military area, and no permits were issued for filming. So, Bo drive along and when he saw it safe, Sarli would jump out of the car, climb down the rocks, disrobe, and splash around [in shark-infested waters]. As soon as he spotted the U.S. Military Police, Sarli would hop back in the car and they'd wait until he could get the next shot.

    aFuegoPoster.jpgAugust 7 and 8
    : Fuego, S/D: Bo [Argentina, 1969]. One critic wrote: "An opera's worth of strang an drum." Sarli plays "a nymphomaniac who may be possessed and is sexually beserk. She can't be satisfied from any single man or woman. She cries, 'I need men! I need men!" and she gets just about every one in sight. In the end, she's filled with redemptive self-loathing.

    It was also the first time a woman-on-woman lesbian scenario was introduced in Argentine cinema. You won't forget the title tune!

    Columbia Pictures released in Latin country with ads that read: She burns. She consumes. She's a woman on fire. She's fuego! 

    August 7 and 8: Setenta Veces Siete [The Female: Seventy Times Seven], D: Leopoldo Torre Nilsson [Argentina, 1962]. Under one of Argentina's top directors, Erskine Caldwell meets the Spaghetti Western. "Choosing between her sheepherder husband and a horse thief" puts Sarli on the path to becoming a Mexican prostitute, preyed upon by johns. In a famous sequence, she's "troubled by a hole in the ceiling, which triggers flashbacks regarding her fate and the fates of her husband and lover - fates she played no small part in bringing about."

    Her co-stars were popular heartthrobs, Argentine actor Francisco Rabal and Brazilian hunk Jardel Filho. Though the nudity was shot with more discretion, the film caused a sensation when it was screened at Cannes, where it was in contention for the Golden Palm.

    What was shown here wasn't exactly was they saw at Cannes. A hack named Jack Curtis recut and inserted nude footage of a double.

    August 6 and 8:
    The documentary Carne sobre Carne [Flesh on Flesh]. D: Diego Curubeto [Argentina, 2008]. This focuses on the condemnation and censorship Sarli's films were subjected to. She and Bo were very savvy. They saved all the erotic cutting room scraps scissored to make her films palpable to various markets around the world. aIsabelSarliCinemaTribute03.jpg

    Sra. Sarli was born of Italian immigrants. Her father deserted the family. Her younger brother died when he was five. To help her  mother, she dropped out of high school, entered business school, where she learned stenography. "My goal," she states, "was to be a good daughter and help my mother by becoming a good secretary."

    La Coca took English classes at Buenos Aires' British Cultural Center. She was a huge fan of movies "because they offered me escape. I was a great admirer of Elizabeth Taylor. It was my dream to emulate her."

    She worked as a secretary for an ad agency, representing among other clients, Catalina swimwear and Pan American Airline. She did modeling and appeared in graphic storyboards for newspaper serials.

    Sra. Sarli was married in the early 60s to a German. A close friend said that he felt "it was her way of getting away from mama." All Sra. Sarli will says is, "It was a mistake, so it was a very brief marriage." 

    Oddly, considering the nature of the films, not exactly porn and not exactly soft porn, and some of their plotlines, long after becoming Miss Universe, Sra. Sarli was featured  in Time and Life magazines [and, into her film career, often in Playboy].

    "When my photos appeared," she explained, "they caused quite a stir. Argentine stars were not featured in American magazines." Maybe there was some jealousy.  

    Veteran award-winning Argentine costume designer, author, and longtime Sarli friend Horace Lannes states that was true. "When Isabel attended industry galas or was honored at film festivals, the men surrounded her, but so-called 'legit' actresses shunned her. Of course, considering that Isabel was also a very savvy business woman, they may have envied the fact that she was very well off."

    Sra. Sarli and Bo owned the majority of their films in a 50/50 split and reaped huge rewards, especially in Europe.

    Although La Coca was a gifted comedienne, Bo insisted on casting her in naturalistic melodramas. She was known as "the cleanest girl in films" because Bo had her in the nude in rivers, oceans, under waterfalls, and at beaches.

    "Isabel Sarli was a first for Argentina," says Sr. Lannes. "She was idolized as the perfect woman wherever her films were exhibited - even in Argentina with the films heavily censored. At five or six o'clock, the theatres would be packed with lawyers, bankers, doctors, you name it, white collar, blue collar." 

    Since most of the films were 90 minutes or less - even less after trimming, they could be home in time for dinner with the wife and children.

    Bo first got into acting in the early 40s. In 1945, he played the love interest opposite young Eva Duarte in La Cabalgata del Circo [The Circus Cavalcade]. 


    Bo knew who Isabel Sarli was. It would be hard not to. They met after her Miss Universe bid while appearing as jurors for a TV competition. "He was much older [by 20 years] but," says Sra. Sarli, "it was love at first sight."  

    Seemingly, for both because they began an affair soon after. It lasted until the day he died.

    In the late 40s, Bo began producing, writing, and directing. He has the distinction of being one of Argentina's first indie filmmakers. In 1948, when he was in his early 30s, he founded the Sociedad Independiente Filmadora Argentina (S.I.F.A.) [Independent Film Society of Argentina].

    In the 60s, with "Freedom" a worldwide chant, the films Bo made were not in favor with the Catholic Church or the government.

    "Some cleavage was okay," explains Sr. Lannes, "but Armando and Isabel were the first 
    to take nudity to, what is the expression you have? The full monty? They went the full monty and more. He did close ups of voluptuous breasts and full frontal nudity. More than the nudity, there was objection to the violence and rape - especially a situation where Isabel would be violated by several men."

    La Coca says she never wanted to do nudity, but was coerced into it by Bo. "All blame can be laid on Armando," she says. "I kept saying 'No more' and he would tell me how disappointed my audiences would be if I discontinued. He was very persuasive."

    Bergman films were all the rage in sophisticated Buenos Aires. Bo took Srs. Sarli to one and pointed out an actress could act while being nude. She was having none of it.

    For their first film El Trueno Entre las Hojas [Thunder Among the Leaves], Bo told Sra. Sarli she'd be wearing a flesh-colored body stocking, but when it came time to shoot it could not be found. Sensing something was up, Sra. Sarli was ready to walk. She says Bo persuaded her to do the scene, promising he'd shoot from afar. He did; then, unbeknownst to her, he zoomed in. When the film debuted, moviegoers [save for the men] were scandalized. Bo and Sarli not only suffered the wrath of condemnation from the Catholic Church but also the government National Cinema Institute.

    When Sra. Sarli's "old-fashioned" mother heard about her daughter's nudity from shocked friends and relatives. "She strongly disapproved," relates Sra. Sarli, "to the point that she took one of my riding boots and beat me black and blue."

    Bo was savagely criticized as nothing more than a pornographer. "People said the only reason he included so much nudity was to create a sensation and make money," states Sra. Sarli. "Armando was very good writer and had good ideas regarding technique. He also did things quickly, so there were never budget problems."

    Tired of always being known for nudity, she finally said, "I will not do nudity in my next film." It was was Setenta Veces Siete, directed not by Bo but by celebrated Argentine director Nilsson. "Torre was an artist," notes Sra. Sarli. "His films were shown at top film festivals. When the film was released, 
    people complained!"

    La Coca reported that when it played New York, the distributor added nude scenes using a body double. "The screen would go from a close up to the naked body of some other brunette. I was mortified. If Armando hadn't been with me, I would have jumped in front of a bus! I wanted to sue, but in the end, nothing was achieved."

    A film exec and family friend of Srs. Sarli and Bo described the writer, director, and sometime actor as "an incredibly handsome, six foot plus basketball player. He married the daughter of an aristocratic family, who made millions from their casinos [in Argentina's resort city, Mar del Plata]. They also owned a film studio.


    "His family was solid, wealthy, Catholic, respectable," he continued. "Isabel never entered their home. When I was there, I noticed there wasn't a photograph of Isabel anywhere, not even a production still or poster. She was their cash cow, responsible for bringing loads of money into their accounts. Armando confided that he and Isabel could only be together away from Argentina, one of the reasons he shot at least one film a year outside the country." I imagine they got together more than once a year.


    There were rumors that Armando's son, Victor, was the love child of he and Sra. Sarli; however, he was born in 1943, so those rumors were put to rest. 

    "Some of Victor's scenes with Isabel were quite steamy," says Sr. Lannes. "They made love, but he never had her. She was madly in love with Armando, and always faithful to him. In fact, in their scenes, Victor never took off his pants!"


    La Coca and Bo maintained an intense relationship until his death in 1981. They were in L.A. when he was rushed to St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. He was diagnosed with colon cancer. There was little hope. Back in Buenos Aires, "She was there in hospital," says Sr. Lannes, "always by his side, even sleeping on the floor next to his bed." Bo's last moments were in her arms. 

    After he died, Sra. Sarli became a virtual recluse, dropped out of the business, and for 15 years cried and mourned.  She turned down TV offers, musical revues, and films in Italy and the U.S. There were meetings with director Robert Aldrich of The Dirty Dozen and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? fame, but they never decided on a project. 

    Her fans never forgot her.
    She still receives "volumes of mail from around the world"; and she doesn't let them down. "I respond to all who contact me."

    Today, the outrage has dissipated. "Isabel is an icon all over the world," states Sr. Lannes, "even in Argentina. Where once her films were banned, they are now shown on television. And though a lot of time has gone by, her films receive high ratings, especially among younger audiences."

    At the opening of a temporary cinema museum in 2003 in Buenos Aires honoring Argentine celluloid history, it was not known if Sra. Sarli would definitely appear. Those in attendance were the Who's Who of the business. Throngs crushed the space, but no sign of Isabel Sarli. She wasn't far away, however, and was waiting to make an entrance. When she arrived, pandemonium ensued. An objective observer noticed it wasn't just the men yelling her name, wanting to touch her.

    "Somewhere along the way," says Sr. Lannes, "women grew to love Isabel. I can't pinpoint a specific reason, but I think it was because they admired her being, in spite of her onscreen persona, a one-man woman. Her relationship with Armando had created a scandal, but after he died and Isabel quit films, she gained their respect." 

    In 1969, NYTimes critic Roger Greenspun wrote: "Isabel Sarli squeezes more sexual frisson into the space between breathing in and breathing out than most of us could spread over a lifetime of ordinary love-making." 

    Throughout her 30 + features, La Coca's sensuality has been matched by her acting chops and great comedy timing - and her ability not to take herself or her past too serious.

    Tkts on Saturday and Sunday for Fuego: The Films of Isabel "Coca" Sarli are $12; $10, affiliate members, $8, seniors and students; $7, members. Tomorrow's screenings before 6 P.M. are $9/$7/$6/and $5, respectively. A package of three tks is  $30/$21, seniors and students/$18, members. They are available at the Walter Reade Theater box office. For showtimes and more information, visit www.Filmlinc.com.

    For a career retrospective interview with Isabel Sarli by Daniela Bajar, visit www.FilmComment.com. 


    Ellis Nassour is an international media journalist, and author of Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline, which he has adapted into a musical for the stage. Visit www.patsyclinehta.com.

    He can be reached at [email protected]

    Why are you looking all the way down here?
    For more articles by Ellis Nassour, click the links below!

    Previous: Red Hot Sizzle with Argentina's "Firecracker" at Lincoln Center Film: An Analysis of the Isabel Sarli/Armando Bo Films

    Next: Stellar Acting a Hallmark of FringeNYC; Len Cariou to Sing Sondheim; More Fringe News; Remembering Mae West by Ellis Nassour

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