«Love, a secret of the body», the dystopia of the Sicilian Messina. In Berlin the first of the two Italian films in competition, «Another End»


By John

«For me, before being a science fiction film, “Another End” is a love story. About the love that lives in words, among thoughts, in memories, but above all that lives and grows in silence in bodies. Secretly. Like a secret of the body.” Thus the director, but also composer, Piero Messina, a Sicilian from Caltagironeborn in ’81, summarizes his «Another End» at the Berlinale, the first of the two Italian films in competition in this 74th edition of the festival.

Regarding the fact that even in his first film, «The Wait» (with Juliette Binoche, winner of the Golden Globe in 2015 as best debut director), there is the theme of detachment, the director explains: «I am convinced that absence is truly fertile ground because it highlights love and experience even more.”

This is the story. Sal (Gael Garcia Bernal) is a man full of pain and without tears since he lost Zoe (Renate Reinsve), the love of his life, who died in a car accident for which he feels responsible. He thus begins in the name of the most classic of binomials, love and death, «Another End». But we find ourselves in a dystopian time and his sister Ebe (Bérénice Bejo), worried about his mental health, suggests that he rely on «Another End», a new technology that promises to alleviate the pain of separation by bringing back to life , for a short time, the conscience of someone who is gone. So Sal will be able to find his Zoe again, but in the body of another woman. An unknown body in which he mysteriously recognizes his wife.

What was broken seems to be recomposed. In fact, «Another End» gives Sal some time to share a little more of his life with Zoe, to love her again, to be loved by her. But his joy is ephemeral. At the end of the program, will Sal really be able to say goodbye to his wife for the second time?
«Founding image of the film? – underlines Messina, who was also director of the Netflix series «Suburra» (season 2) and of the series «L’Ora. Ink against lead” – . The bodies of two strangers looking at each other motionless as soon as they wake up. However, I didn’t want to make a science fiction film, in fact I opposed this idea in every way.”

Why not shoot Another End with an Italian cast?
«It came from the fact that I needed actors who brought something asymmetrical, unsettling, not immediately recognizable to the film».

Taking center stage at the meetings in Berlin, in addition to the director, was the Mexican Gael Garcia Bernal: «This film full of open questions was a fantastic journey. One above all, in Western countries we separate the body from people’s lives and I don’t know how right this is.” And again the actor, who is also running at the Berlinale with «La Cocina», when asked if he would ever use the “technique” talked about in the film replies: «At the beginning of the film I totally excluded it, but then at the end of filming I thought about it again , although I am convinced that if I ever decided to use it I wouldn’t tell anyone.”

Bejo is of the same opinion: «I was also initially against it, but if a person suddenly disappears, why not? He would give you the opportunity to greet her, to tell him those things you couldn’t tell him.” Bejo then joked about her role as Ebe: «A complex, complicated person who above all you can’t talk about without giving spoilers. A character who, however, hides many things. Another End – she concludes – is a melancholic and romantic film and among the many questions you ask is: is the body really the memory of a person or is it not?
The film will be released in Italian cinemas on March 21st.