On July 5, 2021, the news of Raffaella Carrà’s passing reverberated in the profound quietude of her privacy. The announcement landed as an abrupt and poignant blow, resonating through the press and the public. For many, the departure of a figure who, in various ways, symbolized the evolution of the country by directly engaging with each spectator felt like a loss. Carrà, with her ability to weave herself into the daily history of Italians, became a page in a shared narrative.
In response to this, friends, colleagues, family, and those who shared moments with her joined forces to contribute to a documentary that aimed to be more than a mere celebration. The intent was to capture a final portrayal of the woman, the character, and, in a transversal manner, the reality she significantly influenced.
Two years ago, the news of Raffaella Carrà’s passing etched itself into memory on a scorching July afternoon. It marked the farewell to a character deeply entrenched in popular culture and individual memories, transcending personal and universal journeys. After decades of work and television triumphs, Italy realized the extent to which Raffaella Carrà had become a living icon for more than a couple of generations.
Hence, the decision by Daniele Luchetti to create a documentary about her does not come as a surprise. “Raffa” attempts to capture, through archival footage and her own words, the radiance that this vibrant woman emanated through the small screen. While some may perceive Carrà solely as a successful showgirl, the documentary, as evidenced by reviews, reveals her as a catalyst for significant changes regarding women and beyond. In this sense, the documentary is poised to become one of the most compelling projects on Disney+. Following a brief theatrical run from July 6 to 12, the film is set for a prolonged life on the streaming platform.
Raffaella Carrà, the wild girl of Canzonissima, the blonde icon of Italian TV, the professional, the author, and the hostess of morning lounges—she embodied all of these roles and more throughout her extensive career. Maintaining a connection with her healthy and joyful Romagna roots, she conveyed personal elegance, honesty, and integrity that endeared her to audiences. Despite the belief that television screens may distort truth, Carrà’s authenticity shone through for those who looked in the right way.
In addition to her multifaceted persona, Carrà played a modern and disruptive role, perhaps unconsciously, in the Sixties and Seventies. Emerging from the beaches of Bellaria Igea Marina like a tornado, she disrupted the rigid structure of sanctimonious and moralistic national television. Her famous exposed navel, relegating opaque and punitive stockings to obscurity, propelled the female body toward an awareness free from the concept of sin.
Wriggling to the rhythm of “Rumore, Rumore,” she became the voice of female sexual independence, bringing about a personal revolution in customs. Carrà’s open and reassuring smile, coupled with evident but non-threatening beauty, endeared her to Italians, making her the most loved.
Describing a personality so transparent yet laden with meaning poses a challenge. To avoid falling into the classic hagiography, Luchetti alters the narrative’s flow, starting from July 5, 2021—the day of Carrà’s death. This change allows the director to commence with a collective shock merging with the personal grief of those who loved her privately. Together, these forces illuminate the emotional, professional, and social void left by Raffaella.
This absence serves as the starting point to define the incredible scenic and human presence that characterized her and seems unwilling to fade into oblivion. Contrary to the public clamor of her successes, Carrà’s silent departure is revisited, reaching back to a past equally devoid of noise, at least in terms of general approval. In reality, her life was always filled with vibrant vitality within a Romagna family of strong and resilient women. Notably absent is her father figure, yet he never acted as a hindrance to her ambitions.
The young Raffaella’s journey primarily revolves around finding herself and her place in the world. A goal she achieved through television after trying dance and cinema. The small screen highlighted her communicative prowess and the rare gift of connecting on an empathetic level. Successes in post-Franco Spain and the return home for new triumphs underscored that her youth was merely a mental construct. These themes take center stage in Luchetti’s documentary, guiding the viewer through a circular reconstruction that encompasses not only light but profound depth.