Cosenza Film Spring, Martone: “Festivals are important”

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By John

The magic of cinema has enchanted Cosenza. Last night, at the traditional theater Alfonso Rendano a red carpet with many stars of the big screen closed the tenth edition of the “Spring of Italian Cinema – Federico II Award”.

Supported by the Calabria Film Commission, as part of the “Beautiful as Cinema” project, and accompanied “by the hand” by Pino Citrigno, president of Anec Calabria, the event was treated to a lounge full of truly important guests. Supported by the public on special occasions. Guest star Alessandro Borghi received the Federico II award for the film “The Eight Mountains”, created by Citrigno and the artistic director of the Festival Massimo Galimberti. Borghi is one of the most requested and loved actors on the Italian scene and beyond, given that thanks to the TV series “Diavoli”, an international production, he has managed to be appreciated even outside his homeland. Together with him, other great actors intervened such as Edoardo Leo, protagonist of “The Order of Time” by Liliana Cavani, Francesco Di Leva, Lodo Guenzi, Giulia Andò, and the directors Roberto Andò, Vincenzo Pirrotta, Alessandro Grande and Mario Martone. In short, a truly exceptional audience that brought prestige and closed the event dedicated to local cinema in an exciting way.

Shortly before the show began, we met one of the most anticipated guests, Mario Martone, Neapolitan director and screenwriter. His film, “Nostalgia”, which stars Pierfrancesco Favino and Francesco Di Leva – who was also present last night in Cosenza – was screened a few days ago as part of the Primavera del Cinema. Furthermore, again by Martone, the beautiful “Laggiù somebody loves me” docufilm on Massimo Troisi which gave us an authentic profile of the Neapolitan artist, through fragments and testimonies which have the great merit of not being banally celebratory or nostalgic, but of dig deep to expose Troisi’s fraudulent soul. The comparison to François Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel fits wonderfully on the “poetics” of the boy from San Giorgio a Cremano exactly like that mask that the actor Troisi built on the weaknesses of the man Troisi, increasing his weight and scope.

In “Someone Loves Me Over There”, the comparison with Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel gives the incipit to the film, but I seemed to understand that it was a mere literary-cinematographic collocation, because Troisi is not easily categorised, as can be seen from the rest of the film…

«Yes, but the incipit was born thinking about the fact that as kids, few of us thought of him as our nouvelle vague director for many reasons. So shooting a documentary on Massimo Troisi, after so many years, it was nice to start from that suggestion. And then naturally, his universe was articulated and complex, and I tried to tell it with love.”
«I don’t talk about space, but about humanity. Naples is the place I know best and that I use to tell my stories.”

Remembering Troisi and his declared and disenchanted war on pizza and mandolin, how difficult is it to describe Naples without falling into clichés?

«Naples is a big city. And in this greatness, of course, it becomes very easy not to fall into clichés. I think the recipe is contained in the look. You just need to have the right look. And then, sometimes, even clichés are funny. It’s fun to be able to use them. We have nothing against pizza and mandolins.”

“Nostalgia” is the film that was screened here at the “Primavera del Cinema”… nostalgia is a word that sometimes evokes ghosts of the past, but you can decide to push them back and continue living in the present. Felice decides to stay in Naples, not to betray his old friend, to come to terms with that uncomfortable past…

«This certainly happens with Naples. We return to the human I seek within Naples, that concept we mentioned previously. And it is a universal human. In this case, I can confidently say that anyone can feel the theme of returning after a long absence. Regardless of the magnet that produces a city with a strong character like Naples. The return, the past is like a labyrinth. You begin your journey, but if you look back it doesn’t mean that you will be able to find the door to exit. And it is precisely thanks to this universality of the message that “Nostalgia” had great international success.”

In these 9 days of film festival, here in Cosenza, we have seen the theaters full again. Now that TV platforms have started producing films exclusively for the small screen, are American blockbusters and festivals the last bastion to fill cinemas?

«Yes, the festivals are all very important. Because they represent moments of aggregation, reflection, reasoning about films. A good film produces a cascade effect on the sensations of the spectators. When you watch a good movie at the cinema, then you go out and talk about it with your friends. You make them curious. They go and watch it too. Discussions, comparisons and dialogues are created. You argue, you argue, in short a certain pathos is created, somehow a little magic that is alive. And in a context like a festival these emotions are accentuated. And it’s the best thing for those who love cinema.”