Heartfelt documentary captures spirit of fashion rebel

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Franca Sozzani

Celebrating its 79th year, the Venice Film Festival ran from Aug. 31 to Sept. 10, 2022. To mark the occasion, let’s take a look at a heartfelt documentary that premiered at the festival in 2016.

“Franca: Chaos and Creation” is the story of Vogue Italy’s former editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani, who passed away from cancer just a few months after the film’s premiere. Directed by her son, Francesco Carrozzini, the film takes us through Sozzani’s life as a child to her reign at the magazine, exploring her talent for finding innovative photographers to whom she completely handed her trust in creating epic, unforgettable photo spreads.

Born in 1950 in Mantua in the region of Lombardy, Sozzani has been referred to as “Fashion’s rebel with a cause.” Her socially relevant photo shoots explored everything from the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico to racism to plastic surgery. Her strong images put models right in the middle of controversial subjects, making Vogue Italy one of the most read publications in the world. “Italian is only spoken in Italy, so our images have to be very strong to attract attention,” Sozzani explains in the documentary.

“Franca: Chaos and Creation” shows a side of the fashion icon that the public rarely saw. The film begins with her walking through Central Park with her son while he explains his reasons for making the documentary, primarily to get to know his mother. There are scenes with the two of them bickering and others when she teases him about his baby pictures, saying that she was worried for him as a child because he was an ugly baby and she had hoped his looks would improve as he got older. We see photos from her first marriage, while she explains that she saw it as her ticket out of her parent’s house. She had the marriage annulled a few months later. She says that she doesn’t feel nostalgia. She just looks forward to the future. She feels like a winner in life but a failure in love. At 60-years-old, she said she still hadn’t given up on finding that special person.

Sozzani attended the Venice premiere with her son and enjoyed its success and positive reviews. Then in December, just three months after walking the red carpet in Venice, she lost her battle with cancer. The film now serves as a poignant homage to an iconic woman.

In an ironic twist Carrozzini married Bee Shaffer in 2018. Shaffer is the daughter of Anna Wintour, the legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue. Wintour and Sozzani both became editors of Vogue in 1988 and rose to fame at the same time in their parallel careers.

Carrozzini will presented his first narrative feature, “The Hanging Sun,” on the last day of the Venice Film Festival. Adapted from Jo Nesbo’s novel, “Midnight Sun,” the film stars Alessandro Borghi along with Jessica Brown Findlay, Charles Dance and Peter Mullan.

To stream “Franca: Chaos and Creation” on Amazon, click here.

Francesco Carrozzini



About Jeannine Guilyard

Jeannine Guilyard is a longtime correspondent for Fra Noi and the Italian-American community newspaper in Rochester, N.Y. She has also contributed to the Italian Tribune of New Jersey, Italian Tribune of Michigan and L'Italo Americano of Southern California. Jeannine wrote and directed the short film "Gelsomina," which was selected for the Screenings Program of the 59th Venice Film Festival, and she won Emmy and Peabody awards as an editor of ABC's "Special Report" following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Jeannine is also a writer and editor for Italian Cinema Today, a publication and blog she founded in 2005 to bridge culture between New York and Italy. Follow her on Instagram at Italianartcinema and on Twitter at @ItaloCinema2day.

Check Also

Renting property in Italy

Leasing a property in Italy is a different from the rental process you may be …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want More?

Subscribe to our print magazine
or give it as a gift.

Click here for details