Review: Dalida, biopic about the French Egyptian-Italian singer and actress

Scene from "Dalida" Photo Credit: Under The Milky Way

Dalida is based on the life of Iolanda Gigliotti, better known as Dalida, a world famous singer for over 30 years. She died in 1987 after a career in which she received more than 90 gold records. She sold 140 million albums and singles worldwide and recorded songs in 10 languages.

Dalida
The real Dalida. Image from Wikipedia

Dalida was played by Sveva Alviti, who bears a strong resemblance to the real woman. Alviti did a terrific job as Delida, especially with the sad and tragic details of her life that plagued her always. She wasn’t very good at lip syncing to Dalida’s songs, however.

Sveva Alviti in Dalida
Sveva Alviti. Photo Credit: Under The Milky Way

When I started watching the film, I didn’t think I’d ever heard of Dalida. But as the film went on and I heard her songs, I recognized many of them. She was a supremely talented singer who could deliver a ballad or a disco number with equal skill. The songs we hear in the film are Dalida’s actual recordings. They are the best part of the film and a beautiful legacy from a sad and lonely life.

The film is mostly in French, with a few other languages thrown into the mix. It has English subtitles. Dalida was Italian, born in Egypt, and lived most of her adult life in France.

The film was over 2 hours long and felt a little slow in places. I kept wishing it didn’t concentrate so much on the details of her love life but more on her creative fire as a musician and performer. She had such a beautiful voice and so much talent. That could have been more at the center of her story.

According to the biopic, all she ever wanted was to be loved and accepted for who she was and to not be alone. Unfortunately the men she loved all turned out to be incapable of living in her shadow. She had several failed relationships. To make matters worse, men who lost her killed themselves.  Suicide followed her all her life. The men in her life were played by Jean-Paul Rouve, Alessandro Borghi, and Nicolas Duvauchelle.

She spent most of her life grieving one tragic loss after another. Her father was an Italian musician in Egypt. During WWII he was assumed to be a Nazi and was taken away and returned badly broken.

She had a botched abortion which left her infertile. She suffered a lifelong problem with her vision which made being on a stage in bright lights especially problematic. As she grew older and worried about losing her youthful looks she became bulimic. She purposely overdosed on barbiturates in 1987.

Dalida had strong ties to her brother Orlando (Riccardo Scamarcio) and her sister (Valentina Carli). Her brother helped manage her career and produced some of her shows.

Lisa Azuelos directed Dalida. Azuelos did some of the writing, as did Orlando, who wrote a book about his sister with Catherine Rihoit.

Dalida opens on VOD on December 5 on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Microsoft, Vudu, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Vimeo, and various others.

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