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The authentic Naples of Betti Pedrazzi

The baroness of "É Stata la Mano di Dio" told by the shots of Eleonora D'Angelo

The authentic Naples of Betti Pedrazzi The baroness of É Stata la Mano di Dio told by the shots of Eleonora D'Angelo

The rendezvous is in Naples, in front of the Mercadante Theater, on the second day of the tour of the show Tartufo. Elisabetta Pedrazzi, known by everyone as Betti, had repeated on the phone "But how can I recognize you? I've never seen you!" - «Don't worry, we will be the ones to recognize you.» Betti is that actress who, in Sorrentino's latest film, in that yellow tiled kitchen of the Schisa family, declares a stark truth, which unfortunately we have no trouble believing: «Humanity is hideous, did they tell you?» And in her straightforwardness, she presents herself the same way in reality, without any kind of frills. «You do know, that if you ask me to pose, terrible faces will start to come out? I am not capable, I don't know if you know that.... ». This is how she speaks to us, straightforwardly, with her gesticulating, tapering hands, always glued to a cigarette, whether this is a drum, an Iqos or a Camel snatched from someone. On the coffee table rests her silver cigarette case, a charm we had long forgotten: «It was my father's, I am so attached to it.»

To loosen up a bit, we sit down for a chat at the Toraldo Café, and among the first questions, she asks us, «But why did you choose me?»  We start by explaining to her who we are, our Neapolitan reality, and how you don't need a professional model to do a fashion editorial. We are looking for Italian-ness and starting from the origins of a place that is home, born with the people, among the people. Betti tells us about her embraced Naples, which she blindly trusts: «Naples is perhaps the only city that still owns something authentic. It is real, it has not changed over time amid all this fiction.» It is hard to have not seen Sorrentino's latest film The Hand of God, winner of 8 Davids, and not remember that cult scene between Baroness Focale and the very young Fabietto. We are talking about a few very intense minutes where the viewer does not seem ready to see what will happen. Perhaps no one would have been able to interpret that moment so naturally: «Between the lines of the script, I didn't even understand the physical act you can see very little or even nothing. But I understood the meaning of everything, I knew that for Fabietto (Filippo Scotti) I would be a simple principle, what he needed to see a future.»

And the future is a bit of what we all need and what Moliére's play Tartufo, with French director Jean Bellorini, guest-starring at Naples' Theatre by the Sea, reflects on. Betti, as Mrs. Pernella, together with companions such as Teresa Saponangelo (Elmira), Gigio Alberti (Orgone), and Federico Vanni (Tartufo) shows us the chaos, relationships, joy, and freedom that in an ironic key we try to conquer, between the sacred and the profane. «Theater takes off the masks, the ones we wear every day. And it's very different from movies, and fiction.... especially in this play, the first rule is to do what we feel like doing. If we make a mistake, we start over, we show those who are watching us that we have entangled ourselves and that we have to start picking up where we left off. Jean wants us real, alive.» The following day, when Betti invites us for the new show, she anticipates its modernity (although - she is keen to say - "modern" means nothing): we understood it from the music of Battiato, Mina, and Dalla, which we are not used to hearing in a theater, between Alexandrian verses and enviable breath to utter them all in a row. From the colors, the stage costumes, somewhat reminiscent of a Gucci and a Missoni of the 1970s, are still very relevant, and a curtain that does not exist because one character (Ruggero Dondi in Cleante) we find already lying down, while we are still looking for our seats between the seats.


Afterward, we spend the evening with her, in the trattoria where she usually gathers together with the other actors at the end of the performance, when the stomach opens up again and we indulge in small talk. We started talking with her about her past and her present, about all that she has experienced, with no regrets, and that she would do everything over again with conviction: «Life has given me everything I wanted, and I am grateful for it. So far I've done the work I wanted, I've loved, and I've enjoyed myself.» Between the continuous exchange of dishes, along with glasses of rigorously red wine, we also talked about her relationship with Instagram: «I'm not able to use it!» At that very moment, we – children of the digital – felt compelled to teach the great actress the art of following. And so we start having her follow her friends and colleagues, from Paolo Sorrentino to Toni Servillo, and how could she not follow Fabietto? We read her some names, some didn't care about some (but here we will not satisfy your curiosity by telling you which ones).

The social moment ends with one last piece of advice, to rename herself as everyone knows her: thus @bettipedrazzi was born. «Betti, are you pumped for tomorrow?» - «Are you asking me because you are worried? I swear I'll sleep tonight so I'll be rested.» When we convinced her to become the subject of our shoot, we explained that this is also a form of costume. That an actress is born to perform and can become whatever she wants, as long as she feels comfortable and free to do what she wants. Hence Betti accepts our and her challenge, breaking out of the usual mold of glossy, posed photography, focusing only on the listening of (is he not at the root of acting?) Neapolitan photographer Eleonora D'Angelo, to whom she reveals: «You don't strike me as an ordinary photographer. And I sense that you also have a lot to share.» The actress greets us into the house of which she is a guest, which overlooks the sea and is full of light. She doesn't pose for us - just as promised - but she smiles, tries to do things, distracts herself, awkwardly eats a sfogliatella from Scaturchio's, and when asked for some music she asks for Keith Jarret or Mina. We see her dressed in silk, in baby pink, a bit backcombed, and with glossy lips: «If I see myself, I don't recognize who I am, of course I know it's me, but it's as if I'm observing myself from the outside and I don't have the same perception of myself as I always do,» she always tells Eleonora.

At one point, just as in one of those silent scenes that need no acting outline, Spotify chooses for us Mi sei scoppiato dentro il cuore (You burst inside my heart), and Betti, exactly behind Eleonora's steady lens gets very emotional. For a moment, an eclipse of emotions covers those clicks, leaving us all listening, facing Betti's intense face that is not afraid of our eyes upon her, because the memory of an important person is speaking to her. Switching songs the rhythm picks up, like a change of scene, dress, or character. A stage curtain reopens. The smoke of cigarettes becomes more intense, like a dragging soul keeping her company. She cannot separate herself from it, such that she even smokes on stage, sharing with us about that funny time when that cursed cigarette did not light up. Then we move to Piazza Plebiscito, to the curious crowd that recognizes her and asks if-she-is-that-actress, and we dress her in denim with rubberized Y/Project mules while she walks us through the colonnades, amused and completely at ease, perhaps because we, unintentionally, once again, are nothing but her audience. Thus Elisabetta Pedrazzi, known to everyone as Betti, by social now @bettipedrazzi, is an unfiltered woman, who at sixty-and-we-don't-care-how-many has put herself out there, wearing someone's shoes, someone who specifically didn't wish to tell us, showing us, perhaps, that awful humanity can sometimes provide us some surprises.


Art Director: Vincenzo Schioppa
Photographer: Eleonora D'Angelo
Photographer Assistant: Danilo Cautero
Stylist: Ramona Tabita
Stylist Assistant: Giovanni TrittoLisa Mastrapasqua
MUA: Cinzia Trifiletti
Editorial Coordinators: Elisa AmbrosettiEdoardo Lasala