On the occasion of the release of a book devoted to the love story between her parents, Lino Ventura’s youngest daughter looks back on their passionate and eventful romance.
Letters full of tears
In the latest issue of Paris Match, Clélia Ventura explains the genesis of the project: “Mom gave me, as a bequest, more than three hundred letters kept in a cardboard box, thinking that it could make a good play, but I immediately saw a romance novel about global conflict background. “ The book makes it possible to update the extreme sensitivity of Lino Ventura, as when he recounts his distress to his beautiful, in June 1942, after a refused request for permission: “I am in pain honey and I would like to cry so much. I would like mom to be there and cry in her arms.” During the fourteen months that their separation will last, Lino Ventura will write almost every day to his Odette. Her daughter talks about it like “of a tender and more feminine man than he seemed, who filmed flowers and birds with his Super-8 camera.” If around thirty letters from the future actor are reproduced in full in the book, this is not the case with his wife’s responses. “My mother’s letters are missing. Surely they were destroyed …” déplore Clélia Ventura.
For love, Lino Ventura risks death
Unable to be far from his wife, Lino Ventura decides to desert the Italian army, at the risk of being arrested and shot. He had false papers made for himself and became Lucien Vernot. While he goes to hide in Anjou, in a house serving as a barn, Odette stands firm in the face of questions from the Gestapo who summoned her. In 1960, the couple bought this house, symbolic of their rediscovered freedom. Clélia Ventura, who was 26 when her father died, does not hide her admiration for her parents: “I know few men who would risk the firing squad for love. They loved each other so much, they were a more than fusional couple. I would say karmic so much over the years they have come to look alike. I remember that. ‘one day Francesco Rosi, who had directed my father in Exquisite Corpses, said to my mother:’ Odette, it’s amazing. When I see you, you look like Lino with a wig. ‘ Despite the sometimes complicated circumstances, Odette and Lino Ventura remained united until the actor’s disappearance in 1987. As for Odette Ventura, she died on May 15, 2013.
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