Following her mother's suicide, Lucy Harmon, 19, goes to Italy to stay with the Graysons, old friends of her late mother, and to have her portrait painted. She has a dual motive: she is eager to meet up again with the young and handsome Nicolo Donati, who gave her her first kiss four years earlier and to shed some light on a mysterious passage in her mother's diary. Lucy, full of innocence and curiosity, strikes a current of sensuality in the villa that causes upheaval for everyone there...
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"I suppose you know that I've deliberately spent a long time in exile... more than ten years", states Bernardo Bertolucci, the "very" Italian director of such "very" Italian films as "The Conformist" and of course "1900". "I felt that I couldn't find inspiration in my own country; so I decided to go away as far as possible. And I ended up in China where I made "The Last Emperor"... Then, in the 1990's, I felt that things were changing in Italy. It may be naive of me but, whatever, I made my mind up : it was time to go home. And so "Stealing Beauty" tells of the beauty of Tuscany. It's the tale of a confrontation : that of different types of beauty : the beauty of the scenery, the beauty of art, the beauty of a young woman..." (...)".
Interview with Bernardo Bertolucci, by Judy Bachrach - Vanity Fair