Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Nanni Moretti's 'Santiago, Italy' Named Closing Film of 2018 Torino Film Festival

Photo by Storyboard Media
Nanni Moretti's new film, Santiago, Italia will close the 36th edition of the Torino Film Festival in November.

The docufilm, which features interviews and archival footage of the months following the coup of 11 September 1973 that ended the democratic government of Salvador Allende in Chile, focuses on the role played by the Italian embassy in Santiago, which gave shelter to hundreds of opponents of the regime of Pinochet, allowing them to reach Italy.

The film will be released in Italy on December 6. Click here for more information on the Torino Film Festival screening. The festival runs November 23 - December 1.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Luigi Comencini: A Master of Commedia all'italiana

He was one of the masters of the popular post-WWII genre of filmmaking, Commedia all’italiana. Now, his daughters are carrying on his legacy.

Born in 1916 in Salò, a town located near Lake Garda in northern Italy, Luigi Comencini studied architecture in Milan. He began his shift to filmmaking in the mid-1940s as a photojournalist  documenting the ruins and reconstruction of his native North and the Po Valley. Combining his architectural knowledge with his keen eye, he created telling photographs of the post-war years that chronicled the devastation of poverty on children in particular. 

He transitioned to filmmaking in the late 40s with his first feature film, Guaglio, which follows a young priest after his luggage is stolen in the Naples train station. The film was a hit, paving the way for some major talent to sign up for his second project, L'imperatore di Capri (The Emperor of Capri). Released in 1949, the comedy stars the beloved Neapolitan actor Antonio De Curtis better known as Totò and was produced by the iconic Carlo Ponti. The plot of the story centers around on a beautiful young woman who mistakes Totò’s character, a waiter, for an Arab prince.

Comencini’s next hit was his 1953 comedy Pane, amore e fantasia (Bread, Love and Dreams) starring Vittorio De Sica, Gina Lollobrigida and Marisa Merlini. De Sica plays a veteran police officer charmed by two of the town’s women: a midwife closer to his age and a women old enough to be daughter. Gina Lollobrigida gives an explosive performance as a rebellious, free-spirited woman always on the move. Her simple yet extraordinary beauty is second only to her talent for acting as also for singing as she does in a couple scenes. Vittorio De Sica is also a sight to behold as he cannot help but generously show off his smile whenever he’s in Lollobrigida’s company. The film is interestingly considered a “neorealist pink” film, meaning the end of the neorealist period was approaching as a result of the improving conditions in Italy.

Comencini was very active in the 50s and 60s making a movie practically every year, sometimes two. He worked steadily through the 70s, utilizing the great actors of that decade, Nino Manfredi, Alberto Sordi and Ugo Tognazzi. One of those films being the 1974 comedy Lo Scopone Scientifico. Starring three legends of cinema: Bette Davis, Silvana Mangano and Alberto Sordi, the film was shot on location in the poor Borgata neighborhoods of Rome and follows an unlucky husband and wife team as they try to beat a millionairess at cards. Both Sordi and Mangano earned David di Donatello awards for their performances. The film is an example of Commedia all'Italiana at its best.

In the 80s, Comencini began to phase out of cinema. His 1984 television series Cuore was a big hit and featured his grandson, Carlo Calenda, son of Cristina, who is now a political star in Italy’s Democratic Party working in the Renzi and Gentiloni administrations. 

Luigi Comencini passed away in 2007 at the age of 90, but his cinematic legacy lives on in his daughters Francesca and Cristina. The two are prolific authors and filmmakers in their own rights, telling compelling stories from a woman’s point-of-view. Cristina’s 2005 film La bestia nel cuore (The Beast in the Heart) adapted from her own novel, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Both Cristina and Francesca have presented their films at festivals throughout the world, including Lincoln Center’s annual Open Roads: New Italian Cinema. 

Chatting with the Comencini sisters at MAXXI Museo in Rome
In 2016, Cristina and Francesca along with their sisters Paola and Eleonora participated in an exhibition honoring their father’s early photography. The photos were the subject of a book, Luigi Comencini. Italia 1945-1948, which features 50 photographs taken by the director during those years right before he ventured into filmmaking. Comencini’s daughters were the featured guests of an interesting discussion in which stories and memories alternated with sequences from their father's films personally chosen by each one of them. Francesca's comments and memories in particular were funny and endearing. She seems to have inherited his sense of humor.

Luigi Comencini’s Lo Scopone Scientific is available to stream on FilmStruck while Bread, Love and Fantasy is available on DVD through Amazon.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Matilde Gioli: Destined to Act

Matilde Gioli and Matteo Martari in a scene from 2Night
When she answered a casting call, Matilde Gioli’s just wanted to make a few extra bucks to support her university education. Months later, she was offered a starring role in one of Italy’s most successful contemporary films.

Born in Milan in 1989, Gioli studied at Beccaria High School and then graduated in Philosophy at the State University. “I never thought of becoming an actress. When I was at university, I worked various jobs. I was 21 years old. One day my mother found an announcement: they were looking for extras for a film by Paolo Virzì. So I went to audition. I did not expect anything," she explained in a recent interview with Forbes Magazine in Italy. She didn’t hear anything for four months. Then one day, she received word that Virzì wanted to meet her for a another audition. “The following day, he offered me the role of Serena Ossola in the film Human Capital. From there my career started.”

Matilde Gioli and Giovanni Ansando in a scene from Human Capital
Virzì’s 2013 Human Capital begins at the end, as a cyclist is run off the road by an SUV. As details emerge of the events leading up to the accident, the lives of the privileged and detached Bernaschi family intertwine with the Ossolas, struggling to keep their comfortable middle-class life. Gioli’s character, Serena Ossola, a free-spirited, independent thinker, gets into trouble when she falls in love with a young man, Luca Ambrosini, played brilliantly by Giovanni Anzaldo, who is on probation for a crime he didn’t commit. As he is facing another injustice, Serena stays by his side. The adults that surround the two are so dysfunctional and immersed in their own self-created dramas, it is up to Serena and Luca to find their own solution. When the parents inevitably get wind of what’s going on, they only make matters worse, just as the two suspected.

Although the film is graced with veteran talent, the scenes between Anzaldo and Gioli are electrifying. The strong chemistry between the two young actors combined with Virzi’s articulate direction made stars out of both of them. Since that breakout role, Gioli has appeared in 10 films and has received numerous awards, including the “L'Oréal Paris Award for the Cinema” during the 73rdVenice Film Festival. 

Ivan Silvestrini’s 2016 film 2Night premiered at the Rome Film Festival in the Alice nella Città program, a series of films dedicated to young people. Cleverly scripted, the films has only three speaking roles: Him, Her and Her Ex. Gioli of course takes on the role of “Her,” one of two young strangers who meet at a nightclub in Rome. The couple is only interested in a one-night stand, but the logistical problems of contemporary Rome put a dent in their plan. Over the course of the seemingly never-ending night, the conversation deepens, revealing an intellectual intimacy that captivates them both and brings them close together on an emotional level. The film was a stepping stone for Gioli, proving she has the talent and capacity to carry a film in a starring role. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum is Only for the Weekend. Directed by Gianfranco Gaioni who goes by the alias Director Kobayashi, the films is a loud, action packed comedy. The director is not aiming for political correctness as he pokes fun at a few stereotypes Italians have for the American culture. The film opens with beautiful shots of the Las Vegas skyline, and then follows a heist in which a briefcase full of cash is stolen. Towards the end of the film, the thief turns up in Milan looking to capitalize on the stolen goods.  When a recently fired copywriter addicted to psychiatric drugs get dumped by his frustrated wife, he runs into an old bully from high school that gets him mixed up with some petty thieves way in over their heads with this professional from Las Vegas. Gioli’s character, a local dominatrix whose clients pay to do her housework, is called in to help. 

Gioli currently has two films in production, including Giovanni Veronesi's remake of the Three Musketeers.

Human Capital and Only for the Weekend are available on Amazon.

- Jeannine Guilyard

Monday, August 13, 2018

Basilicata Native Wins Top Prize at the Rhode Island Film Festival

London-based, Basilicata native Luca Nappa took the top prize at the Rhode Island Film Festival in the section "Voyages of Discovery" for his short film Warriors of Sanità.

Fresh off the Giffoni Film Festival where it won the Rai Cinema Channel Award, the film is set in the Sanità district of Naples and tells the story of two children, Francesco and Vincenzo, who believe they have found a mutant with magical powers. The main interpreters of the film are Francesco Capaldo, Vincenzo Quaranta, Loredana Simioli and Saeid Haselpour.

The Rhode Island Film Festival is one of the American festivals affiliated with the Academy Awards, which are among the prerequisites for an Oscar nomination.

The film was  produced by Diego D'Ambrosio for Uncoso Factory and London Film School.

- Jeannine Guilyard

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Francesco Patierno to Present his Latest Work at the 75th Venice Film Festival

It was recently announced that documentary filmmaker Francesco Patierno will present his latest work Camorra in the Sconfini program of the 75th Venice Film Festival, which runs August 29 – September 8. The film has been described as “a striking historical and socio-anthropological portrait of the Campania’s regional capital and of the organized crime that afflicts it.”  Patierno spent months researching the treasures of Rai Teche archives and uncovered a number of period films, many of which were previously unpublished.

Born in Naples in 1964, Patierno studied architecture before discovering his passion for filmmaking. He worked as a creative director for an ad agency producing video clips and commercial spots for RAI. Then in 1996, he tried his hand at filmmaking with a short film called Quel giorno (That Day). The compelling 10-minute film premiered at the 53rdVenice Film Festival and was shown at more than 50 film festivals worldwide. Adapted from a story by Renata di Maria, Quel giorno simply but powerfully demonstrates sorrow and empathy as strangers react to a man leaning on a building sobbing.

Patierno’s 2003 feature film Pater Familias, the story of a prisoner who settles his debts on a granted day of leave from jail, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and made its North American premiere later that year at Open Roads: New Italian Cinema. With the success of Pater Familias, Patierno went on to direct four high profile films with A-list Italian actors, including the acclaimed documentary Bergman and Magnani: The War of the Volcanoes, the story of the rivalry between Ingrid Bergman and Anna Magnani that took place on the island of Stromboli while they were both shooting separate movies. Magnani was heartbroken, having just been left by Roberto Rossellini as his relationship with Bergman was developing.

Watch Quel Giorno...

In 2016, Patierno’s documentary Naples ‘44 became his most successful international release to date, getting American distribution by First Run Features. Adapted from the book by Norman Lewis, a British intelligence officer sta­tioned in Naples during World War II, and narrated by British film and TV star Benedict Cumberbatch, Naples ’44 is a hard dose of reality. Intermixing archival footage, old cinema clips, dramatizations and the recollections of an officer who witnessed unfathomable atrocities, Patierno’s film is informative, riveting and at times shocking. I caught up with him while he was in New York presenting “Diva!” at Open Roads: New Italian Cinema, and asked about the inspiration behind making such a powerful film. “The inspiration to make this film came from my father. One day, he told me about how he had escaped a bombing by accident only because he was on the righthand side of the road. All those on the left died because they were shot by a machine gun being fired from an airplane. He said, ‘If you want to know more, read Naples ’44 because it’s a very interesting book not only about the period during the war but it’s also significant in understanding the Neapolitan people in general.’ I read this book and I fell in love. So from there, the idea came to me right away to make a film.”

A scene from Naples '44
We learn in the opening sequences of Naples ‘44 that Allied troops mounted a surprise landing at Salerno in German-occupied Italy nine months after D-Day. Narrated by Cumberbatch, excerpts from Lewis’ diary follow. Among those shocking revelations is the devastating delayed action devices left by the Germans before their departure from Naples. Several hundred mines were buried under principle buildings. These bombs would randomly explode with no warning in the middle of busy piazzas. Lewis described the bombings as “a senseless massacre perpetrated on the Italian civil population.” 

The Neapolitan people suffered grievously in the coming months, not just as a result of the bombings but also because of diseases like typhus and malaria that spread throughout the population. “The war pushed the Neapolitans back into the middle ages,” Lewis declared.

Watch a clip from our interview...

Lewis spent about a year among the Italians. Over that year, he grew to admire and respect them for all they were forced to endure. The film ends with a statement by Lewis which encompasses his affection and respect for a people he grew to admire and respect.”

Naples ’44 is available (here) on DVD through Amazon. Click here to purchase tickets for the screening of Camorra at the Venice Film Festival. 

- Jeannine Guilyard

Monday, August 6, 2018

Actor/Writer/Director Giulio Base on 'Il Banchiere Anarchico'

Among the diverse selections of the 75th Venice Film Festival is an adaptation of a short fiction by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Il Banchiere Anarchico (The Anarchist Banker) is the story of a banker who engages in a revealing conversation about why he considers himself an anarchist even though he doesn't possess the obvious traits.

Published in 1922 and set in a Lisbon café, the conversation takes place between a wealthy banker and his friend as the two have a friendly but passionate exchange about the qualities of a true anarchist. The wealthy banker stands by his claim that he is the only true anarchist left and makes a compelling and at times surprising argument to back his belief.

I spoke with the creator of the film, Giulio Base for some insight into this story and why a piece of literature written nearly a century ago is still very relevant today.

Let's just start at the beginning. Why did you want to adapt this story for the screen?
I love Pessoa. More than that: I adore him, I venerate him. And this literature is more or less my ‘life statement’.

With all the political turmoil these days, the story of an anarchist is certainly relevant. How do you feel it applies to contemporary life in 2018?
The tale was written in 1922, but as all the masterpieces, it is timeless. What is impressive is how important bankers are today. They are on the front pages of every newspaper. So, the mind of this poet was visionary.

Is the story a complete fiction or was Fernando Pessoa writing about himself?
Totally fiction, but Pessoa always put a bit of himself in his works (who doesn’t?).

I read that you have also portrayed this character on stage. In interpreting the primary role of the banker, what qualities in him did you identify with?
As the tale’s banker, I love to wake up early, go to bed early. Work without pause, keeping in mind that fame is not important. Freedom is. 

Do you feel that people should read the story before seeing the movie, or can someone walk into the theater and follow the movie without knowing the story?
I tried to make a movie as a cultural message. I read the book for the viewer, I represent it as if it was real life. For the joy of literature I suggest to read it but it’s not necessary to get into the movie.

Base will present his film in the Sconfini program on September 7 at 9:00am. Click here to read The Anarchist BankerClick here for more information about the screening in Venice. The film will be released in Italy following its premiere at the festival. 

- Jeannine Guilyard

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Photography of Silent Film Actress Tina Modotti

I recently stumbled upon the photography of silent film actress Tina Modotti and it's absolutely mesmerizing.

Modotti was born in 1896 in the northern Italian city of Udine and  immigrated to the United States in 1913. She headed to San Francesco where her father had arrived earlier. There, she became involved in the performing arts and landed parts in plays, operas and silent films.

Modotti was ahead of her time and a true working woman on the move. During the course of her life, she worked as a photographer, model, actress and political activist. She moved to Mexico City in the early 1920s and dedicated her life to political activism where she eventually joined the Mexican Communist Party. Her life thrived in Mexico City and her close circle of friends included artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and Argentinian poet Pablo Neruda.

Modotti died at the age of 45 of congestive heart failure while on her way home in a cab. Neruda wrote the epitaph for her grave stone:
Pure your gentle name, pure your fragile life,
bees, shadows, fire, snow, silence and foam,
combined with steel and wire and
pollen to make up your firm
and delicate being.

Click here to browse a collection of her photographs organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Click here to read about the miniseries that will be made about her life with Monica Bellucci in the starring role and Edoardo De Angelis in the director's chair.

Watch Tina Modotti in this restored version of The Tiger's Coat...

- Jeannine Guilyard

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Italian Selection of the 71st Locarno Film Festival

Leonardo Guerra Seràgnoli's LikeMeBack 
Switzerland's Locarno Film Festival, with its signature outdoor venue, has always been a sure spot for Italian cinema, and a huge supporter of new talent. The 71st edition is no different. Check out this great lineup of contemporary Italian films.

(S)WORDS by Federico Di Corato: Pardi di domani: Concorso internazionale
DULCINEA by Luca Ferri: Signs of Life
THE GUEST by Duccio Chiarini: Piazza Grande
JUST LIKE MY SON by Costanza Quatriglio: Fuori Concorso
LIKEMEBACK by Leonardo Guerra Seràgnoli: Concorso Cineasti del presente
MENOCCHIO by Alberto Fasulo: Concorso internazionale
MY BELOVED ENEMY by Denis Rabaglia: Piazza Grande
MY HOME, IN LIBYA by Martina Melilli: Fuori Concorso
ORA E SEMPRE RIPRENDIAMOCI LA VITA by Silvano Agosti: Fuori Concorso

The first edition of the Locarno Film Festival opened on August 23, 1946 with a screening of Giacomo Gentilomo's Sole Mio. The 2018 edition will carry on that dedication to Italian cinema beginning Wednesday and running through August 11. Click here for more information. 

Actor/Director Antonio Albanese on the Immigration Crisis in Italy

Antonio Albanese is one of contemporary Italy's most versatile actors. Having portrayed characters in just about every situation one can find himself in, Albanese has proven that he could bring that level of diversity to writing and directing as well.

His latest directorial effort is the comedy Contromano, which deals with the ever so relevant subject of  immigration. Albanese directs himself in the role of Mario Cavallari. A man set in his ways, Mario is confronted with the prospect of a new boss. When a Senegalese sock vendor further upsets his daily routine, Mario searches for a solution and ends up being forced to step out of his confort zone and face life head on.

Albanese recently presented the film at Canada's Italian Contemporary Film Festival. He addressed the film's relevance during this important moment in Italian history as the country's newly elected officials are taking controversial steps to control the number of clandestine immigrants seeking refuge in Italy.

"The idea came from the fact that there is an association in Italy which helps people in Africa by giving them a chance, for a few euros, to purchase a section of land. With one section, you can support one to two families. This association actually gives money to Africans so they can stay in Africa and purchase this land that is being undersold, being given away. In one year, about 45,000 Africans were able to grow their own vegetable gardens, grown their own products and stay in their country. This was one idea. Of course, there were other ideas. The other idea was to have a character who sells socks in Milan but dreams of owning his own piece of land in Africa.The original concept was to provide importance to lands that have been abandoned and are left to their own vices. Through the assistance and aid of other people, and through the monetary assistance of this association and others... this is one solution that can be looked at. There are many others. There isn't one simple way to resolve the issue of immigration. We started with the initial idea of abandoning certain land. It's kind of a counter-current idea because of course immigration has always been handled with underscoring pain and desperation, which of course are aspects of it. But people don't usually talk about immigration with a serene point-of-view. It's always dealt with in a very sad and miserable way. If you only face it in a sad and miserable way, it difficult to really understand it."

- Jeannine Guilyard

Monday, July 23, 2018

The lineup of the 33rd Venice International Films Critics' Week

Letizia Lamartine's Saremo giovani e bellissimi

The Venice International Film Critics’ Week (SIC) is an independent and parallel section organized by the National Union of Italian Film Critics (SNCCI) during the 75th Venice International Film Festival (29th August – 8th September, 2018). 

The program will open with Toni D'Angelo's short film Nessuno è innocente starring Salvatore Esposito, and will include a selection of seven debut films in competition and two special events out of competition, all presented in world premiere screenings. The selection is curated by the General Delegate of the Venice Critics’ Week Giona A. Nazzaro together with the members of the selection committee Luigi Abiusi, Alberto Anile, Beatrice Fiorentino and Massimo Tria. The 2018 official selection includes:


A kasha / The Roundup by Hajooj Kuka (Sudan, South Africa, Qatar, Germany)
Adam und Evelyn / Adam & Evelyn by Andreas Goldstein (Germany)
Bêtes blondes / Blonde Animals by Alexia Walther, Maxime Matray (France)
Lissa ammetsajjel / Still Recording by Saaed Al Batal, Ghiath Ayoub (Syria, Lebanon, Qatar, France)
M by Anna Eriksson (Finland)
Saremo giovani e bellissimi / We’ll Be Young and Beautiful by Letizia Lamartire (Italy)
Ti imaš noć / You Have the Night by Ivan Salatic (Montenegro, Serbia, Qatar)

Special event out of competition

Opening film
Tumbbad by Rahi Anil Barve, Adesh Prasad (India, Sweden)   
Special event out of competition

Closing film
Dachra by Abdelhamid Bouchnak (Tunisia)

Visit for more information

- Jeannine Guilyard

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Director Marco Tullio Giordana on his Art & Muses

If you’re an aficionado of international cinema, then chances are you have seen the films of Marco Tullio Giordana. His work is not for the faint of heart. It is dramatic, in your face and often reflects the brutality of society and the prices one must pay to hold on to his or her values.

Giordana’s most successful films outside Italy are One Hundred Steps (I cento passi) and The Best of Youth (La meglio gioventù). One Hundred Steps is the true story of Peppino Impastato, a Sicilian activist who spoke out against the mafia. He paid the ultimate price for his activism and to this day, is regarded as a beloved hero among Sicilians. The Best of Youth was originally a television mini-series but was so well-received, it was edited down to six hours for a theatrical release. Not many films could hold an audience for six hours, but I saw the film in a regular theater in upstate New York, not at a film festival, and people were laughing, crying and enjoying the emotional rollercoaster of the characters and compelling story. 

Tullio Giordana recently presented his latest film in New York at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Open Roads: New Italian Cinema. You could say that his new film Nome di donna is a film for the times as it deals with sexual harassment in the workplace. But when he began to work on the screenplay, the #MeToo movement hadn’t yet begun.

When I first sat down with him and we began talking while I was getting my camera ready to record our interview, I found that we had a lot in common in terms of our tastes in cinema. It was such an honor and a thrill to talk with this director whose films I’ve been watching for nearly 20 years. Please note that I edited very little of our interview. It’s not every day that we talk with a living icon of cinema, so I didn’t want to cut anything he said.

As we were just chatting here, you told me about your admiration for the silent film actress Louise Brooks. How did that begin?
When I started to see lots of historical films from the heritage of all the classic movies, I watched Pabst’s Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl; and Augusto Genina’s Prix de Beaute, with this extraordinary American actress. I fell madly in love with her because she was so electric and so different from other actresses of her time. I love her unique look with the way her hair is cut and the female characters she portrays. There was a famous Italian designer of comix, Guido Crepax, who took Louise Brooks as his model for his most famous creation called Valentina.

A scene from Augusto Genina's Prix de Beaute

(Click here to check out my interview with the president of the Louise Brooks Society about her presence in Italian culture.)

Which other actresses do you admire from classic movies?
I would say that the actresses who impressed me most in the history of cinema, that I love are Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich. But for me, Louise Brooks has something special and extraordinary. What's special moreover, is one of the rare interviews of Louise Brooks for Italian television. In the interview, she proved to be very radical, very smart with severe judgments of the industry but also very understanding, very human. I always admired her very much.

You’ve made these epic films that document important moments in Italian history such as the story of Peppino Impastato in One Hundred Steps and the tumultuous decades of political unrest in The Best of Youth. What is it about these periods in time that inspire you to make films about them?
In the case of One Hundred Steps and Best of Youth, they are films set in the past because they center on a story that took place in the 60s and 70s. The Best of Youth also begins in the 60s and ends in 2000. They are films about memory in the sense that they revisit key figures of our history that risk being forgotten if they are not revived. For those films. For Nome di donna, it’s different. Even if inspired by an event that happened many years ago, it touches a problem that today we talk a lot about. But when we started to write the screenplay, no one spoke willingly of harassment in the business world and so it is a very serious problem. I’ve always felt that this behavior was detestable, those who take advantage of power. Here is the double aim- to preserve the memory and to fight an injustice. I would say maybe these two things are the common ground for these films. I am not a militant of any party or any association. For me, the most interesting thing is the human part, the part where people are hurt by a socially incorrect behavior because they feel alone. It does not seem to me that a film can repair the loneliness but maybe things can change because it widens the awareness of a problem and they may no longer feel alone thanks to the presence of the characters at the cinema.

One of my favorite, most memorable characters in all of cinema is Jasmine Trinca’s character Giorgia from The Best of Youth. Tell me about the development of that character and your collaboration with Trinca. 
Giorgia is a character who appears relatively little in the film because in the first episode or the first part, the two brothers separate- one starting to go on to continue his initiation journey in northern Europe and the other decides to become a military officer. At the beginning of his contract, he meets this disturbed girl, Giorgia, taken away from a psychiatric hospital, and then returned. It was a time when in Italy, they held these people as if they were criminals. She then reappears in the film after her recovery. I was very much impressed with due to the interpreter Jasmine Trinca, who at the time had made a film with Nanni Moretti (The Son’s Room) but did not want to continue her career as an actress. She wanted to continue her studies but I was very impressed by her performance in Nanni Moretti’s film and insisted that she did this character.

Tell me more about Giorgia.
She is very deep, very communicative. There is something in the character of Giorgia that very attractive to the viewers. Jasmine Trinca interpreted this character that has reached the point where you can either go crazy or you can begin the road to recovery. That is something that each of us has gone through because we all have been in a moment at some time in our life and maybe even more than one time when we were at the point of saying, ‘I am suffering too much. I cannot do this anymore.’ But despite all this, Jasmine Trinca made the character fascinating, seductive and beautiful. After Giorgia resurfaces, she is present in some fundamental turning points of the story. It is she who convinces Nicola, when he discovered the photograph, to say 'I'm going to look for the photographer.' And then Nicola goes looking for him and discovers that his brother had a child, and so on, and so on. So she began as a character without hope but in reality offered hope. So she is a very strong character. I am very fond of this figure.

When I spoke with Jasmine Trinca in 2008, I asked her about this character and working with Tullio Giordana on his epic film. 
“It really was a great experience for me. The character that I played, Giorgia, is always in my heart. I started acting in 2001 with Nanni Morretti's film, The Son’s Room. I really thought that I was totally out of the business after that film. I just didn't want to be an actress. It was a beautiful experience, but I wanted to leave it at that. I didn't want to make a career out of acting. I still wanted to study archeology. So I stopped acting and went to college. Then the director of The Best of Youth, Marco Tullio Giordana, contacted me about playing the character, Giorgia. He told me about her, and I thought that she was really remarkable. I felt that it wouldn't be right to say no, so I accepted the role. Marco and I worked closely to build this character, and in doing so, I realized that acting is in my fabric. It's a part of me.”

(Click here to read our full interview)

Going beyond Giorgia, the women in your films, who most times are in supporting roles, are strong, multi-dimensional characters. Such is the case in your first film that I saw here at Open Roads in 2001, One Hundred Steps. The mother of Peppino Impastato, (played by Lucia Sardo) made a lasting impression on me.
As the saying goes, behind every man there is a woman. More often, it may be the figure of the mother or it may be a love. But it is very difficult for me to think of the man alone because it seems to me that something is missing. The most interesting thing is that this figure completes him as if he were missing a part of light in a photograph. So even when in a film, when the main character is a man, I don’t want the women there as the side dish. They are not the fries. I want them to be important- the main dish.

And speaking in general to the supporting characters…One aspect of your work that I have always appreciated is their presence and significance. They have a lot of influence on the main protagonist. 
I thank you for telling me this. It is a huge pleasure to hear because I spend a lot of time on casting and looking for supporting actors because I think the supporting actors can destroy a scene if they are bad or make it work if they are good. I have never understood good actors who are afraid of the best actors. I have always appreciated the actors who love the challenges because you are better. But the important thing is that they are good for me. There is no difference between the protagonist and the supporting actors. I'll tell you that even the extras are important. The faces must be right. I really like to find these actors in the theater or maybe in the street as a bit in the tradition of Italian cinema, in the tradition of the neorealist cinema, but above all in theater because in theater, the actors have a formation, an awareness, a beautiful voice that for me is very important.

- Jeannine Guilyard

Nanni Moretti's 'Santiago, Italy' Named Closing Film of 2018 Torino Film Festival

Photo by Storyboard Media Nanni Moretti's new film, Santiago, Italia will close the 36th edition of the Torino Film Festival in Nov...