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Valeria begins to understand that her boss is in love with her, and she has feelings for him, but she cannot bring herself to go off to Venice with him for a romantic interlude. At the end of the book, Valeria gives up on her search for her own identity, burns the diary, and, having resigned herself to taking care of her grandchild, which is clearly a continuation of her maternal role, she looks forward to nothing but empty days and her own death. It is striking that a grown woman cannot keep a diary without feeling that she is doing something highly “prohibited,” but it becomes clear that the diary is, in fact, a site of transgressive thought that threatens the peace of the family unit, and in this sense it is truly outside of the symbolic Law.

Cardinale was raped at 17 and made pregnant. While pregnant, and still aged only eighteen, she made three films: I soliti ignoti, Tre straniere a Roma, and La prima notte. The producer Franco Cristaldi, who would later marry the actress—but was not the father of her child—suggested that Cardinale and her mother should go to England with the excuse that she had to learn English. The real reason for this trip, however, was that the unwed star should remain out of public view during the final months of her pregnancy.

Vides [Cristaldi’s production company] didn’t want Patrick to know that he was my son. He stayed with us and we, let’s just say, we made everyone believe that he was my mother’s last born, her son and my brother. 29 The case of Cardinale’s pregnancy and secret motherhood serves to indicate how, even in the late 1950s, it was still essential for actresses to keep their MARRIAGE, MOTHERHOOD, AND ITALIAN FILM STARS 43 private lives scandal-free. 30 Cristaldi insisted that Cardinale should not, under any circumstances, reveal that she was an unwed mother.

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