Italian diva Sophia Loren still firing on all cylinders in ‘The Life Ahead’

Italian diva Sophia Loren still firing on all cylinders in ‘The Life Ahead’
‘The Life Ahead’ stars Sophia Loren. Supplied
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Updated 25 November 2020

Italian diva Sophia Loren still firing on all cylinders in ‘The Life Ahead’

Italian diva Sophia Loren still firing on all cylinders in ‘The Life Ahead’

CHENNAI: Sophia Loren has been part of a league of actresses who brought a new meaning to cinematic performance and the Italian diva who has not been seen in a feature film in more than a decade, makes a rare appearance in the latest Netflix streamer, “The Life Ahead,” interestingly directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti.

With masterpieces such as Vittorio de Sica’s “Two Women” under her belt, 86-year-old Loren gives a breathtakingly moving performance as Madam Rosa in “The Life Ahead.”

As a former sex worker, she takes a street urchin from Senegal under her care, showering him with love which becomes a life changer for the boy who has been committing petty crimes.

Adapted from Romain Gary’s novel, “The Life Before Us,” the movie is high on emotions, a tearjerker in fact, and is set in the southern Italian port city of Bari.

It also stars Ibrahima Gueye as orphan Momo who is under the guardianship of the sweet Dr. Coen (Renato Carpentieri).

“The Life Ahead” begins dramatically with Momo snatching Rosa’s handbags as she is out on the street shopping. When Coen finds this out, he forces the boy to meet Rosa and offer an apology. The boy does so very, very reluctantly, and realizing that the elderly woman would be an excellent ward for Momo the doctor cajoles Rosa to take him in.

There are moments of beauty as there are of tension and conflict. Momo is at first hostile to Rosa, clearly unhappy at the loss of his freedom which he enjoyed under Coen.

He still manages to sneak out and sell drugs on the streets, but as time goes by, begins to get fond of Rosa, and she too, despite her initial reluctance, veers around.

Scenes such as when Rosa suffers from temporary memory losses or when the boy smuggles her out of her hospital bed are lovely. And Loren’s nuanced performance is Oscar worthy — she is as regal as she is vulnerable.

Ponti does not let his work turn despairing or dark, although the subject of abandoned children is heavy. He offers variety as well, of a parent fighting to keep their child and a shopkeeper who never ceases missing his wife.

All the time, Momo watches them and discovers a sense of belonging while the audience watch him blossom.


Model Imaan Hammam takes a break from social media

Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP
Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP
Updated 23 January 2021

Model Imaan Hammam takes a break from social media

Imaan Hammam is currently one of the most in-demand models on the scene. File/AFP

DUBAI: Model Imaan Hammam is taking a social media break “to reset and reflect,” she revealed this week. 

The Dutch catwalk star, who was born to an Egyptian father and a Moroccan mother, took to her Instagram platform to raise awareness about mental health in light of “Blue Monday,” the third Monday in January, which is dubbed to be the most gloomy day of the year.

Urging her one million followers to prioritize their mental well-being, Hammam posted a photo of herself wearing a yellow t-shirt bearing a number for the mental health crisis hotline. 

She wrote: “(Wednesday) was a really exciting step forward for the US. But as we celebrate, I also want to remember that the day-to-day struggles people are facing — especially with mental health — don’t just disappear with a new administration. This past Monday (#BlueMonday) was the supposed scientifically proven most depressing day of the year.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Imaan Hammam (@imaanhammam)

She went on to encourage her followers to check out music collective Enjoy Being in Transition’s new trilogy of mixes curated by one of fashion’s favorite sound designers, Michel Gaubert, in order to bring peace and harmony and “to be a source of relief and inspiration for a society feeling the fatigue and the effects of depression from this past year.” She even plugged the link to the Blue Room playlist in her Instagram bio.

The 24-year-old also announced that she has started releasing monthly Spotify playlists in an effort to help uplift her fans’ spirits. 

“Speaking of mental health,” she concluded, “I am going to take a little break from social for a bit, just to reset and reflect. Sending you guys love and I’ll be back soon.”

Hammam isn’t the only supermodel to take a break from social media to prioritize their mental health in recent weeks. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

Part-Palestinian catwalker Bella Hadid briefly abandoned the photo-sharing social media platform at the beginning of this month. 

A few weeks after departing, Hadid explained to her 38 million followers why she felt she needed to quit. 

“I took some time away to reflect and learn about myself in a way that would be too much to explain at the moment, but with time I will express,” the model wrote. “The memories and fortune I came back with are pure wisdom, a closer relationship with myself and my spirituality, a sense of self-love that I have always lacked, a few great friends, and these books that saw me through.”