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Daniele Luchetti • Director

Those Happy Years, between art and passion

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- 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

Daniele Luchetti • Director

Set in the summer of 1974, Those Happy Years [+see also:
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 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.”  

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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:
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interview: Daniele Luchetti
interview: Riccardo Tozzi
film profile
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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:
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, 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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