Zeudi Araya Cristaldi
Actress and producer (Dekhemhare, Eritrea, 2.10.1951)
Daughter of an Eritrean governor and niece of a diplomat, she was the only one of nine (five daughters and four children) to attend an Italian school in Asmara. In 1969, she graduated as surveyor and was elected Miss Ethiopia, with a free visit to Italy included in the prize. After a three-month stay, she returned to Italy for good in 1971, settling down in Rome. After posing as a model for painter Renato Guttuso and acting in a commercial for a brand of coffee, Zeudi was contacted by director Luigi Scattini, who selected her for a main role in La ragazza dalla pelle di luna, a huge box-office hit. She appeared in two more titles ascribable to exotic/erotic genre and recorded a 45 containing two songs from the soundtrack of La ragazza fuoristrada, Oltre l’acqua del fiume and Maryam (Bla Bla, 1973). In March 26, 1983, she married the producer Franco Cristaldi and later on reduced her appearances, devoting herself to production. After Cristaldi’s death in 1992, she carried through the film La corsa dell’innocente (Carlo Carlei, 1992) and took over the running of Cristaldi Film studio (formerly Vides Cinematografica). In 1993, she coproduced with Jacques Perrin the documentary Eritrea – 30 anni di solitudine and in 1995, the social drama Marciando nel buio by Massimo Spano, the father of her son Michelangelo, who was born in 1996. Marciando nel buio was nominated for Silver Ribbon – Best New Director by Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists. In the same year, Cristaldi Film acquired the rights to Lux Film, holding a library of over 240 key titles of Italian cinema. In 2008, she produced the documentary Franco Cristaldi e il suo cinema paradiso.
Zeudi Araya is a member of the Academy of Italian Cinema, that every year since 1956 assign David di Donatello Awards to Italian films.
La ragazza dalla pelle di luna (Luigi Scattini, 1972, ff, act), La ragazza fuoristrada (Luigi Scattini, 1973, ff, act), La preda (Domenico Paolella, 1974, ff, act), Il corpo (Luigi Scattini, 1974, ff, act), La peccatrice (Pier Ludovico Pavoni, 1975, ff, act), Il Signor Robinson, mostruosa storia d’amore e d’avventure (Sergio Corbucci, 1976, ff, act), Giallo napoletano (Sergio Corbucci, 1979, ff, act), Tesoro mio (Giulio Paradisi, 1979, ff, act), I paladini – storia d’armi e d’amori (Giacomo Battiato, 1983, ff, act), Il giorno prima (Giuliano Montaldo, 1987, ff, act), La corsa dell’innocente (Carlo Carlei, 1992, ff, pr), Eritrea – 30 anni di solitudine (Didier Martiny, 1993, doc, pr), Marciando nel buio (Massimo Spano, 1995, pr), Franco Cristaldi e il suo cinema Paradiso (Massimo Spano, 2008, doc, pr)
Frame taken from:
La ragazza dalla pelle di luna. Dir. Luigi Scattini. Aquila Cinematografica, P.A.C. – Produzioni Atlas Consorziate, 1972.
Contributors: Maria Coletti and Leonardo De Franceschi, with Iman Childs and Renata Ornella Orlando
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