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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

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