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Florinda Soares Bulcao was born an Aquarius in Uruburetama in the state of Cearà in north east Brazil. Her father, Josè Pedro, was over 60 at the time. Widower and state deputy, his second marriage to Maria Hosana, an 18 year old Indios girl who barely knew how to write, gave him three wonderful children: Alina, Josè Maria and the youngest, Florinda. She was very young when her father died, but the life and death of this man have deeply influenced her life: his culture and intellect, the noble example of his life have been a great source of fascination for Florinda who has always felt the strong need to emulate his life. Even though Soares Bulcao left his wife and children in privileged circumstances, her mother remarried a few years later and the family went to live in Rio de Janiero where Florinda worked as secretary at just 14 years of age. From the second marriage of her mother, Dona Hosana, were born Odete and Sonia Ribeiro. These were difficult times, but Florinda never once abandoned her studies and at 18 obtained a degree in languages, she actually became as fluent in French and English as in Portuguese. After having tried various jobs she managed to obtain a good post as Executive Hostess for the Varig Airlines. At the same time she became officially engaged to a Polish nobleman in spite of the fact that marriage was not part of her dreams. Florinda had grown up with an innate sense of liberty and her sense of curiosity and desire to see the world caused her to choose a life that was to be more adventurous and less secure than the one she had led in Brazil. In 1963 she left for London and Paris with a group of friends, cities with which she had remained impressed from a previous trip to Europe. It was Paris that was to become her eventual destination, where she in fact remained for two years. On various occasions it was proposed to her to work as a model, but because of her introvert nature she didn’t feel she was suited to such a career. At Paris she attended a course in French at the Sorbonne and one in Art History at the Louvre. Unable to achieve a stable lifestyle she decided to return to Brazil.
In 1967, on invitation of some Italian friends, she met the famous Italian director Luchino Visconti in Rome, who convinced her to overcome her shyness and become an actress. Visconti made her go through a wonderful audition which lasted for three days after which she immediately obtained a role in his first film. She was soon after chosen to take part in a film with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Robert Hossein in Paris called "Voleur de crimes" (Crime Thief) Immediately after that she was offered a part in Candy in Rome alongside Richard Burton and Marlon Brando, followed by one in yet another of Visconti’s films, The Damned with Helmut Berger, Ingrid Thulin and Dirk Bogarde. In the months to follow, Florinda Bulcao, now known as Florinda Balkan, was to star in numerous films rendering her so famous to the extent that she became Europe’s most amazing talent: in 1968 with "Metti una sera a cena" with Jean Louis Trintignant, Annie Girardot and Tony Musante she wins her first Donatello award (the Italian Oscar), reaching true star status. In 1969 with Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion she wins a Cannes Film Festival award and an Oscar at Hollywood. In 1970, The Anonymous Venetian had the highest box office ratings that year, granting her with unmistakable success. Florinda wins her second Donatello award along with all the other types of Italian film award. By now she had become Italy’s number 1 actress of dramatic and romantic roles. Between 1970 and 1975 Florinda Balkan acted in over 20 films with some of the most important actors and film directors in the world, here are some of them: In the USA The Last Valley by James Clavell with Michael Caine and Omar Shariff. In France: " Le mouton enragè " by Michel Deville with Jean Louis Trintignant, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin. In England: Royal Flash by Richard Lester with Malcolm Mc Dowell, Alan Bates, Oliver Reed. In Ethiopia: "Una stagione all' inferno" by Nelo Risi with Terence Stamp and Jean Claude Brialy. In Yugoslavia: "Sarajesky Atentat”" by Velko Bulajich with Christopher Plummer. In Italy: "Un uomo da rispettare" by Michele Lupo with Kirk Douglas and Giuliano Gemma. "Flavia" by Gianfranco Mingozzi with Maria Casares. "Cari genitori" by Enrico Maria Salerno with Maria Schneider and Catherine Spaak. "Una breve vacanza" by Vittorio de Sica. She wins her third Donatello award. In the USA she wins Best Actress Award by Los Angeles Film Critics besides the possible nomination of an Oscar. Hollywood studios begin calling her to launch her in American films but rubbing elbows with ambitious Hollywood stars was not for her. She starred in The Word with David Janssen for CBS TV but was unhappy with the Beverly Hills life style and values.
Florinda went through an identity crisis and decided to try to lead a “normal life” and do all those things she had never had time to do, to forget the pressure that she had been under for such a long time. She began travelling, having houses built, selling them, doing sport, going horse riding on her beloved horses as well as sailing, flying, skiing, paying tennis. Being a luxury loving lady wasn’t her answer to life. After four years it became once more important to work. Thus, in a new country house in the surroundings of Rome she was happy to find out that she hadn’t been forgotten. She returned to acting in a couple of Italian plays as well as Italy’s most popular TV series ever: "La Piovra" n° 1 and n° 2, which has broken all viewer records and rendered her as famous, for a younger generation of viewers, as 15 years previously with The Anonymous Venetian. Furthermore, she won all the 1986 Italian film awards. No longer satisfied with her past glory, and in search of something new, Florinda decided that a true actress should gauge her talent by acting in the theatre. In the winter of 1984 she acted, in Italian, with Michele Placido in the play “Metti una sera a cena” under the same direction as the film she had starred in years ago. The play was an enormous success becoming the most popular theatre piece of the year. Florinda was to become the first actress with a foreign accent to exhilarate the audience of Italy’s most ancient theatres. In 1985-86 on a more classical note, under the direction of Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, Florinda Bolkan interpreted Yelena Andreyevna from Chekov’s Uncle Vanya. She had proved herself capable of measuring up to the professional standard of the great actors and won admiration and applause from both critics and audience. In 1986-87 she was part of Michael Hoffman’s cast in the film Sisters, shot in Canada and produced by Robert Redford for MGM.
In 1991-92 in search of new horizons and being a gourmet, Florinda launched her first gastronomic paperback entitled “Vi invito a tavola” (Come for a meal) published in Italy by Mondadori. The same book has come out in Brazil with the title "A mesa com Florinda", published by Maltese. In 1997, on returning to Brazil she stars in Fabio Barreto’s “Bella Donna”, produced by Luis Carlos Barreto. After an extremely interesting career as an actress, Florinda Bolkan has given herself the task of writing, producing and directing her first film "Eu nao conhecia Tururù" (I never knew Tururù), shot entirely in north east Brazil. She has also created a cinema production and music business called "Florinda Bolkan Produçoes". Her website is currently visited by many fans and people with whom she has collaborated artistically. Shortly it will be possible to access her future projects on the site. 30 years on from the debut of her first film, Florinda Bolkan is one of the best loved actresses of her generation, recognised everywhere for her talent and indelible beauty. She is also an example of elegance and discretion, an example to follow.