Daniele Luchetti • Director
Those Happy Years, between art and passion
by Camillo de Marco
- Set in the summer of 1974, Those Happy Years by Daniele Luchetti tells the story, between real life and fiction, of the director’s family
Set in the summer of 1974, Those Happy Years [+see also:
interview: Daniele Luchetti
film profile] by Daniele Luchetti tells the story, between real life and fiction, of the director’s family. Guido (Kim Rossi Stuart) is an artist looking for celebrity through avant-garde performances, Serena (Micaela Ramazzotti) is a traditional woman looking for liberation. Dario and Paolo, 10 and 5, grow up watching their parents. “I grew up in a similar atmosphere. From the moment I was born, I saw my father model and sculpt a thousand times, even using the kitchen table. He was an academy-trained sculptor but wanted to be an avant-garde artist. Next to madonnas and Christs, there were photo experiments, performance ideas, books, avant-garde theatre, exhibitions. Exactly like in the film.”
Cineuropa: You chose to show your parent’s relationship in the most intimate of ways
Daniele Luchetti : It took me time because I started making notes for the film 15 years ago and went back on it a thousand times with screenwriters, trying to extract something good from it. Something clicked when I finally realised what was missing from my notes: my relationship with my parents. Looking down that hole, I found this film. I took the liberty to reinvent a number of things in order to arrive at a point of authentic feeling, masking facts within other elements, which made them relatable. I did not describe my father as a saint, but showing his limits, his true weaknesses. I knew I needed to be unscrupulous or the film would seem fake.
Bearing your previous films in mind, the theme of family is a recurring one in the type of cinema you make
I used it three times because it seemed to me like it couldn’t be exhausted. I don’t even know whether it will end with this film. When I presented My Brother is an Only Child [+see also:
interview: Daniele Luchetti
interview: Riccardo Tozzi
film profile] in Israel, I met a writer that I had always adored, Abraham Yehoshua, who told me that the theme of family is the one that best represents Italians, like earth for Jews and success for Americans. I realised that that film, through a microcosm, represented the entire country. Through Our Life [+see also:
film profile], I managed to tell something much bigger that interested me, something that is particularly dear to me: the relationship between affection, love, expression and inspiration.
Why are you so fascinated by the 1970s?
There are two reasons. It was a time during which conflicts were very clear. People tended to imagine a better future, wanted to change the world with ideas, art, cinema, music, theatre, politics. That is the starting point for a thousand narrative lines. Then there is a more stupid reason. There were no mobile phones. It seems absurd, but the fact that everything that happened to people happened face to face, from a cinema perspective, is very important.
And from a stylistic point of view, how did you tackle the historical period?
I used film probably for the last time in my life. A zoom, a hand held camera which Cassavetes used in those years, few camera movements, shots and reverse shots like what used to be used for television. I tried to reacquire that directing style and also to tell the story of quite a modern Rome, with skyscrapers in the suburbs, but also an old Rome, with artists’ studios.
(Translated from Italian)
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