Hilda Isabel Gorrindo Sarli
9 July 1935
|Known for||Starring in several cult films directed by Armando Bó|
|Partner(s)||Armando Bó (1956-1981)|
Hilda Isabel Gorrindo Sarli (Spanish pronunciation: [isaˈβel ˈsaɾli]; born 9 July 1935), nicknamed Coca, is a retired Argentine actress and glamour model, known for starring in several sexploitation films by Armando Bó, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. She began her career as a model and beauty queen, becoming Miss Argentina and reaching the semi-finalis of Miss Universe 1955. She was discovered by Bó in 1956 and made her acting debut the following year with Thunder Among the Leaves, in which a controversial nude scene featuring Sarli made it the first film to feature full frontal nudity in Argentine cinema.
As the muse and protagonist of Bó's films, Sarli became the quintessential sex symbol of her country and a popular figure worldwide. With Bó's death in 1981, Sarli virtually retired from acting. Since the 1990s, her films have been revalued for its camp and kitsch content and are recognised as cult classics. She is considered a gay and pop icon.
Hilda Isabel Sarli Gorrindo Tito was born in Concordia, Entre Ríos Province, into a very poor family, as one of the daughters of Antonio Gorrindo and María Elena Sarli. Her father left the family when she was 3 years old. Those he had left behind, including Isabel and her mother, then moved to Buenos Aires. Her youngest sibling, and only brother, died at the age of five. Although, years later, her father tried to contact her, angrily she refused.
Sarli trained to become a secretary and, upon completing this training, started working for a publicity agency to support her mother. Then she was offered to work as a model, at which she proved to be so successful that she ended up resigning from her secretarial work. She won an award as the "most photographed model".
Contrary to what is known, she was nicknamed "Coca" by her mother.
In June 1956, she met Armando Bo on a TV show, who later offered her the opportunity to star in El trueno entre las hojas (Thunder in the Leaves). Bo convinced Sarli to be naked in a scene in which she bathed in a lake, though she had previously been told she would wear a flesh-colored body stocking. Also, though Bo likewise told Sarli they would shoot from afar, the camera had magnification. The film became the first to feature full frontal nudity in Argentine cinema. She went on to become an international Latin American star and made international headlines for the nude scene. She appeared in Time, Life, and Playboy Magazines, the first Argentinian actress to accomplish that feat. Bo and Sarli became lovers and she became the primary star of his films till his death in 1981. During this time, Sarli refused many offers to work with another director, with the exception of Leopoldo Torre Nilsson on Setenta veces siete (The Female: Seventy Times Seven) and Dirk DeVilliers on The Virgin Goddess, her only English film.
The films were controversial at the time and most of them were banned, but this ban led them to be even more successful. Films like Fuego (1969) and Fiebre (1970) reached the American and European markets.
She received offers to work in the United States with Robert Aldrich, along with two offers extended to her from England, to appear in the Hammer Film production The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll and the American co-productionThe Guns of Navarone, but she declined them. However Isabel often worked in Latin America, although always under Bo's direction: she made La diosa impura in México, Lujuria tropical in Venezuela, Desnuda en la arena in Panamá, La burrerita de Ypacaraí in Paraguay, and Favela and La leona in Brazil.
After Bo's death in 1981, Sarli retired from the cinema industry altogether but came back in the mid-90s for Jorge Polaco's picaresque film, La dama regresa (1996). The film was inspired largely by her life and her public image, serving as an homage of sorts. In 2009 she teamed once more with Polaco in Arroz con leche for a bit part.
In 2011 she starred in the movie Mis días con Gloria, where she acted out a character based on herself. The film was her first major role since La dama regresa in 1996. In a radio interview, Sarli said the film had not gone well because of the poor promotion it had received.
Before meeting Bo, Sarli was married to Ralph Heinlein and later divorced. Bo and Sarli never married, contrary to the popular belief. Isabel has two adopted children: Martin and Isabelita, who was her goddaughter. As of June 2016, she and her daughter Isabelita were living in Martinez, Buenos Aires.
In 2007 Argentinian film critic Diego Curubeto made the documentary Carne sobre carne – Intimidades de Isabel Sarli (Flesh on Flesh - Isabel Sarli's Personal Matters), with the collaboration of Isabel, Argentinian actor Gastón Pauls and Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia. It is a well-received homage that includes deleted scenes from her films, censored material, rehearsals, anecdotes and interviews.
On 12 October 2012, it was reported that the Argentine President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, had named Sarli as Argentine Ambassador of Popular Culture. The Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina, under Decree 1876/2012, stated:
[...] Isabel Sarli is considered a true representative of the national culture, as much for her acting skills in films as for being considered a popular icon of her day and an emblematic figure of Argentine cinema.
In 2010, the movie Fuego premiered at the Lincoln Center in New York, where it was shown with English subtitles. It was about this premiere that Time Magazine's critic, Richard Corliss, wrote the review described above.
The phrase "What do you want from me?", erroneously taken from the movie "CARNE", has become a catchphrase in Argentina. In fact, the phrase was used in the movie "... And the devil created the men"
Sarli in Thunder Among the Leaves (1958)
Sarli photographed by Annemarie Heinrich
Sarli in Los días calientes (1966)
Sarli in a glamour photo from the 1960s
Sarli in La mujer de mi padre (1968)
Sarli in Carne (1968)
Sarli and Víctor Bó in Carne (1968)
Sarli in the Argentine premiere of Fuego, filmed in 1969 but released in 1971
Sarli in Desnuda en la arena (1969)
Sarli and Armando Bó in A Butterfly in the Night (1977)
Sarli in the Guadalajara International Film Festival, 2008
|El trueno entre las hojas||1958||Flavia Forkel|
|...Y el demonio creó a los hombres||1960|
|La burrerita de Ypacaraí||1962|
|The Female: Seventy Times Seven||1962||Cora / Laura|
|La diosa impura||1964||Laura|
|La mujer del zapatero||1965|
|La tentación desnuda||1966||Sandra Quesada|
|Los días calientes||1966|
|La señora del intendente||1967||Flor Tetis|
|La mujer de mi padre||1968||Eva|
|Desnuda en la arena||1969||Alicia|
|Intimidades de una cualquiera||1974||María|
|El sexo y el amor||1974|
|Una mariposa en la noche||1977||Yvonne|
|El último amor en Tierra del Fuego||1979|
|Una viuda descocada||1980||Flor Tetis Soutién de Gambetta|
|La dama regresa||1996|
|Carne sobre carne||2007||Herself (archive material)|
|Arroz con leche||2009||Cameo|
|Parapolicial negro, apuntes para una prehistoria de la AAA||2010||Herself (interviewed)|
|Mis días con Gloria||2010||Gloria Saten|
- "Isabel Sarli: Intimidades de una leyenda – Noticias Urbanas". www.noticiasurbanas.com.ar.
- "Cristina nombró a Isabel Sarli Embajadora de la Cultura Popular". La Nación. 12 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- "Decreto 1876/2012". Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- "Argentinian Sex Symbol Isabel 'Coca' Sarli Comes to Lincoln Center — On the Big Screen". Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- "John Waters calls 'Fuego' 'a hetero film for gay people to marvel at'". 27 January 2015.
- "John Waters: "Conocer a Coca Sarli va a ser como conocer al Papa"". 4 April 2018.
Media related to Isabel Sarli at Wikimedia Commons