The beauty of being naive. «Finally l’alba» by Saverio Costanzo in competition in Venice


By John

The charm of cinema, the amazement of a set, the dream of being an actress and the Hollywood on the Tiber of the 1950s, of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, of chariots and pyramids reconstructed in Cinecittà, the dream of “Bellissima” and that of Fellini but also «of the archetypal image of the woman used and thrown away, that body on the Capocotta beach of the aspiring actress Wilma Montesi, the loss of innocence»: Saverio Costanzo tells «Finally the dawn», in competition at the Venice Film Festival. A 28 million euro blockbuster film, an unusual budget for an Italian opera and an international cast with Lily James and Willem Dafoe (absent due to the strike), the young protagonist Rebecca Antonaci, Alba Rohrwacher in the role of Alida Valli, and then again Sofia Panizzi, Joe Keery, Rachel Sennott and a cameo in disguise by Michele Bravi. A Wildside production with Rai Cinema (in collaboration with Fremantle, Cinecittà, Filmnation), in theaters with 01 from 14 December.

«I am a person of the twentieth century, for me – says Costanzo – cinema is still central, nothing has more fire, a propulsive push like images in a dark room, watching films is a formative experience, a teaching that changes us, takes you far. I don’t know if it’s like this for a young person, but for my children it is, but in my opinion there is nothing else as fascinating as cinema, a fiery passion.” Usually Costanzo’s works, «Hungry Hearts», «Private» but also the series «My Brilliant Friend», have a literary extraction, but «Finamente l’alba» does not. «I started from the Montesi case, from that photo of that abused face-down body, so similar to many tragedies of rape and feminicide today, because, let’s face it, in Italy for a woman life is not easy at all, culturally. And I imagined that an aspiring actress like Wilma had had that same dream and the whole story started from there, which crosses that news story, that media case, to follow in parallel Mimosa, the symbol of naivety, of purity , of simplicity that changes in a day and a night but without getting lost and in the end comes out like a lioness.”

A Mimosa built thinking of Giulietta Masina, «with her non-obvious, funny, unconventional femininity, a breath of fresh air compared to the stereotyped image of women and in Rebecca Antonaci I saw one of her granddaughters. Working on a female character is interesting, it makes me grow as a man, an exercise in supporting the feminine, which would be good for everyone.”

«Finally the dawn», with Cinecittà with its glorious story as the protagonist, is a film with the actor’s profession at the centre, «a very difficult profession, it takes great courage, they are the ones who risk the most, they are our heroes», explains the director. «I think of the divas of that era and the stars of the 50s, it must have been hell to correspond at all times to the artificial image built on them, to be fatal, seductive and in the film I tell it, only with a pure like Mimosa who doesn’t he judges them, which is a blank page, they manage to be themselves. The rottenness of the Montesi case? It’s not cinema, I don’t think it’s a hellish world, rather it is the parlor sharks, the predators who exploit and use, especially women.”

«Mimosa – underlines Saverio Costanzo to Ansa – looks at the world with candour, without chasing cunning, cunning which is what is always suggested to us by society today, of making it at all costs regardless of everything, perhaps trampling on others. The invitation that Mimosa makes to the spectator who is able to reflect himself in her is to have courage in his own simplicity, innocence, believe in it and try to remain like that. In the epilogue she becomes aware of her strength but this does not mean that she will adapt.”

Finally, he dedicates it to his father, to Maurizio Costanzo“my modesty is known, I don’t easily talk about private matters, but it’s certainly the least I could do.”