Review: SILENT LIFE: THE STORY OF THE LADY IN BLACK at Sedona International Film Festival

The film is one of the features at the Sedona International Film Festival’s 29th Season, which runs through Sunday, February 26th.

By: Feb. 25, 2023
Review: SILENT LIFE: THE STORY OF THE LADY IN BLACK at Sedona International Film Festival
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Hollywood has its myths and legendary luminaries ~ a history of decadence and outrageous excess and yet a cauldron of possibility that challenges the dreamiest of dreamers to raise themselves to stardom.

What period symbolized these extremes more than the silent film era and who most exemplified the period's hero than Rudolph Valentino! His roles stand the test of time ~ The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle.

When the cinematic icon died in 1926 at the age of 30, outpourings of grief filled the nation's streets. The cries of woe matched the screams of adulation that greeted the Latin Lover's appearances on the screen.

When the waves of tears abated and the mourners returned to their lives, Hollywood's history records that one woman remained loyal to his memory for years ever after. She was the Lady in Black whose annual visit to his was accented by a single red rose.

Stories abound about the identity of the Lady in Black, the most credible focusing on the aptly named Ditra Flame whom Valentino visited when she was fourteen and hospitalized. Other theories have focused on the love magnet's many affairs.

In SILENT LIFE: THE STORY OF THE LADY IN BLACK, Vladislav Kozlov fulfills his lifelong fascination with Hollywood and Valentino ~ a fitting sequel to his 2007 17-minute silent film, Daydreams of Rudolph Valentino ~ and offers a unique and imaginative spin on the legend.

In a style that is, at one and the same time, retro and campy and oozing with romanticism, Kozlov has embellished the facts of Valentino's life and exercised a healthy amount of creative license in his narrative. But that's absolutely okay, because the result is a thoroughly enjoyable, tender and lovingly crafted homage to the period, the man, and the Lady.

The heart (literally and figuratively) of the film is embodied in the luminous performance of the actress cast to play the Lady's role ~ Terry Moore.

A film legend in her own right (nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Come Back, Little Sheba (1952) and one of the bright lights of Hollywood's Golden Age, Ms. Moore is now 94 and as formidable a screen presence as ever.

She is, in fact, the precise age of the woman whom an ambitious young reporter (Jeff DuJardin) approaches for a scoop on her true identity.

It is here, in the mausoleum of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (just behind Paramount Studios!), that, at the reporter's persistent beckoning, the Lady relents and the story of her fabulous relationship unfolds. She identifies herself as Helen Koford as she removes her veil and reveals Ms. Moore's untarnished beauty.

In one of his more brilliant moves of creative license, film maker Kozlov has offered up a sweet twist: Helen Luella Koford is Ms. Moore's birth name, altered when she contracted with Columbia Pictures in the '40's.

As Helen narrates her encounters with Valentino, the object of her affection fills the screen two-fold. Kozlov cuts away to Rudy's emergence as a young aspiring actor and then to Rudolph (the near-look-alike Kozlov assuming the role), alone in the movie theatre, watching his life's story stream before him.

Intertwined with dramatic footage from the times, wardrobe and makeup that capture the style of the era, the cinematography of Per Larsson and Massi Trevis, and Greg Dombrowski's moving score, the film is a dreamy trip into a glamorous period of yesteryear.

Review: SILENT LIFE: THE STORY OF THE LADY IN BLACK at Sedona International Film Festival

SILENT LIFE: THE STORY OF THE LADY IN BLACK (88-minute run time) is one of the feature films at the Sedona International Film Festival's 29th Season, which runs through Sunday, February 26th.

2023 Film Festival Schedule @ ~ Office: 2030 W. State Route 89A, Suite B-2, Sedona, AZ ~ 928-282-1177

Photo Credit: Dreamer Pictures, Arthur Dark (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)


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