by Valerio Cappelli, sent to Berlin
The Italian director was nominated for Berlin with «I Captain»: «An epic journey»
At the EFA, the European Oscars, where the social and political background is rewarded, a family drama wins. With five awards it is the triumph of Justine Triet for Anatomy of a Fall (after the Palme d’Or in Cannes, but surprisingly France did not nominate it for the Oscars): best film, best director, screenwriter, European university award. And “her” is the best actress, the splendid actress Sandra Hüller (also nominated for The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer: Auschwitz told from the perspective of the Nazis, the neighbors of the head of the concentration camp, more concentration camp than the others, are the prisoners, who are never seen).
For Justine Triet, Sandra is the wife suspected of murdering her husband: “I didn’t want to make her a victim, it’s the truth about a couple when the relationship no longer works.” Sandra Hüller called for a minute’s silence for world peace.
It’s a year full of important films. For Italy in the top five there was Matteo Garrone with The Captain, the story of what happens to kids who are born under the wrong sky. Also empty-handed were Green Border by Agnieszka Holland (not embarrassed by the conflict of interest as president of the EFA), harshly criticized, and Leaves in the Wind by Aki Kaurismaki (5 nominations, no one like him), the desperate romance of two unfortunates who meet by chance, but fate gets in the way and erects its frisian horses in front of the utopia of happiness.
Matteo Garrone’s gaze is already at the Oscars. Here is a video in which the projections in view of the possible golden statuettes on the Homeric journey of two Senegalese boys who dream of a better future (Silver Lion in Venice), are welcomed in Europe and the USA by standing ovations.
«America is a land of migrants and recognizes itself in the epic journey, with a positive hero. Remember Jack London, Stevenson, Conrad. Then there is the issue of modern slavery. It is my most accessible, popular and international film, even if subtitled, without dubbed copies. It’s dark, but inside there is humanity, innocence, light”, says the director
It is seen by most schools: “Students see their African peers with the same dreams and desires.” It was sold in 20 African countries: «I entered a culture that is not mine, I directed in an incomprehensible language. I myself was a spectator, I for one was surprised. I actually met a 15 year old who saved 250 people with a falling apart boat, not knowing how to swim. I was afraid of being an intruder, the white bourgeois who exploits the poor migrant.” The protagonist, Seydou Sarr: «It’s my first film, and it changed many things in my life».
Compared to Gomorra (with which he won 5 EFA awards in 2008) which he made «with great recklessness, I had no awareness of what I was doing», in this instead «I felt the potential from the first moment».
If on December 21st it enters the short list of 15 films in the running for the Oscars, Paolo Del Brocco of Rai Cinema will be able to count (and this is the first time) on the financial support of large Italian economic companies for the promotional campaign. Now Matteo is thinking of a film about sport: «I’m a sportsman, I’d like to, always putting man and the human condition at the centre. Years ago I asked for the rights to Open, the autobiography of the tennis player Agassi. He played with the toupee, the devastating relationship with his father… A suitable story. I was having dinner with him on his 16th birthday, we were playing in Florida at Bollettieri’s school. When I realized I wasn’t going to become a champion, I left tennis.”
As a kid «I played tournaments against adults who bet large sums. After a victory, a shop owner reopened it for me and said: take whatever you want. I felt over the moon. But I’ve never been able to tell my own stories. Only about boxing have great sports films been made. The one about Borg and McEnroe? Well done, nothing more. Borg saw me play when I was 11, he gave me a dedicated racket.” Do you like Sinner? «She doesn’t move me with tears. The tennis player is like the director: a solitary, physical job, and every scene, like every game, is linked to a state of mind.”
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December 9, 2023 (modified December 9, 2023 | 11:20 pm)
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