Audrey Hepburn: the parable turned a comic book | Culture | EUROtoday

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Doble página del cómic 'Audrey Hepburn', de Eileen Hofer y Christopher.
Double web page of the comedian ‘Audrey Hepburn’, by Eileen Hofer and Christopher.

A sq. face and eyebrows. This is how Truman Capote outlined the face of Audrey Hepburn (Brussels, 1929-Tolochenaz, 1993). As easy as it’s forceful, the author’s sarcastic remark, that he opposed the actress starring within the adaptation of his novel Breakfast with diamonds, It has, nevertheless, been the premise on which Christopher, one of many greats of French comics, has drawn the star within the album Audrey Hepburn (Aloha Editorial), written by the Swiss Eileen Hofer and which has had the collaboration of Luca Dotti, Hepburn’s youngest son and guardian of her secrets and techniques.

Hepburn didn’t have a straightforward childhood, though her mom got here from a rich house. Her father, a trickster English hunk, left her household behind when the actress was six years previous. During World War II, Hepburn lived together with her mom and her two half-siblings in Arnhem, within the Netherlands, the place she hid her English origins by talking solely Dutch. “Her parents were both phil-Nazis,” says Eileen Hofer by cellphone from Geneva. “And although her mother repented over time, Hepburn was traumatized by this ideological drift.”

Page from the comic 'Audrey Hepburn', by Eileen Hofer and Christopher, after the actress won the Oscar.
Page from the comedian ‘Audrey Hepburn’, by Eileen Hofer and Christopher, after the actress received the Oscar.

Furthermore, poor diet in the course of the warfare ended her promising future as a dancer. “Anne Frank is a very present figure in Audrey. Due to age, due to experiences of the German invasion, due to the geographical proximity in which they lived… Hepburn could also have died during the war: she danced to raise funds for the resistance, for example. For this reason, when Otto Frank proposed to play her daughter on the big screen, there was a moment of doubt resolved with a refusal: the actress was already too old. The volume dedicates many pages to her childhood and adolescence “because that is where her personality was shaped.”

Hepburn, in 'A Face with an Angel', in 1957, with a design by Hubert de Givenchy.
Hepburn, in ‘A Face with an Angel’, in 1957, with a design by Hubert de Givenchy.Cordon

Hepburn’s complete biography is permeated by that feeling of “what if…?” As the screenwriter confirms, she “many times was at the right time in the right place.” But she, she insists, “is accompanied by her talent and her perseverance. “She went against the canons of beauty, against what was established, even against her husbands.” The first, also an actor Mel Ferrer, directed his wife’s career with an iron fist. “It has been quite interesting to write about him because in the 1950s women stayed at home,” explains Hofer. “Moreover, she did not earn more money than her husband. The opposite of this marriage. Mel was older than her, he had been acting longer and, on the one hand, she watched over his projects, took care of his wife’s career, although, on the other, he begged to have small roles in her films, and from there the male bitterness arose. that ended the couple.”

Recreation of the filming of 'A Face with an Angel' in the comic 'Audrey Hepburn', by Eileen Hofer and Christopher.
Recreation of the filming of ‘A Face with an Angel’ within the comedian ‘Audrey Hepburn’, by Eileen Hofer and Christopher.

In the pages of the graphic novel there’s, in fact, a mirrored image of his best successes —Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, A Face with an Angel, My Fair Lady, Two on the Road, Alone within the Dark, Robin and Marian—, of her friendship and collaboration with two geniuses, the couturier Givenchy and the filmmaker Billy Wilder, and her everlasting want to be an excellent mom. “From the beginning, Christopher and I understood that we needed to have his family on board and be able to consult them for details. There are people from all over the world who he knows down to every pair of pants she wore in her movies. Luca, the son of her second husband, Andrea Dotti, even gave us access to the passports of her mother and her grandmother, with which we were able to specify travel dates that contradicted each other in previous biographies,” he points out. the screenwriter. “Like his mother, he is a guy educated in humility, he was always available. The three of us shared many hours of zooms and Luca always thanked us for the effort. The little we have fictionalized has been with his consent. And she corrected some mistakes, like that Audrey never smoked when she walked, something that women of her generation did not do either and that we had drawn poorly, or she told us numerous anecdotes about her childhood in Italy, about the affectionate relationship between her mother and the maids, for example.”

From Italy, Hepburn emigrated in the mid-seventies to Switzerland, where she already had a house in Tolochenaz, fed up with the paparazzi’s persecution and fearful that her children would be kidnapped for ransom.

Audrey Hepburn on the set of the film 'How to Steal a Million and...', by William Wyler, in 1965.
Audrey Hepburn on the set of the film ‘How to Steal a Million and…’, by William Wyler, in 1965.Terry O’Neill (Getty Images)

How do you confront a myth? “Christopher is a clear line artist, and that helps capture Hepburn. I spent a year researching and writing. Because I had to write a book for people who didn’t know the actress and at the same time for unredeemed fans. An example: he only made two films with Wilder, but I watched his entire filmography to understand the ascendancy of Lubitsch in him, and the echo of it in the films with Hepburn. She didn’t want to disappoint anyone, and she wanted it to be understood in the end that after the horrors of World War II, her desire was to live a complete existence. Hence her work as a Unicef ​​ambassador, in which she dedicated herself in her last years. Even, terminally ill due to the cancer she was suffering from, she made one last humanitarian flight to Somalia.”

Hepburn, as a UNICEF ambassador in the comic 'Audrey Hepburn', by Eileen Hofer and Christopher.
Hepburn, as a UNICEF ambassador in the comic ‘Audrey Hepburn’, by Eileen Hofer and Christopher.

The creation of this graphic novel – 320 pages and carefully edited – resembles the life of the person portrayed in the concatenation of coincidental events. Hofer, a long-time filmmaker, had previously written a comic about the Cuban dancer Alicia Alonso. “A friend told me that to resolve some doubts I had about a project, the best source was a woman who lived in the south of France. I called her, asked her and that was the end of it. Five days later, on a Saturday morning, I went with a group of friends to the Morges district, half an hour from Geneva, on the shores of Lake Geneva. Looking online for what to do, I discovered that there was a ‘Hepburn route’, who had lived and died there, something I didn’t know about. And just when we started it, that woman called me and explained that she had just had breakfast with her husband, who was the cartoonist Christopher, who was looking for a scriptwriter to make a comic about Audrey Hepburn, and that she had thought of me. She gave me a fit of laughter, and I confessed the timing of the moment. “This is how the project started.”

Now Hofer, who speaks perfect Spanish after studying at the Autonomous University of Madrid, is immersed in a new comic, focused on the Chilean composer and singer Violeta Parra: “Another crossing of chance, because her great love was from Geneva, where I live. She was another powerful woman, like Audrey, and another fighter against injustice and inequality.”

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