No heavy devices, just simplicity
by Acadra Distribution
- The famous cinematographer talks about the shooting of I like Working and its documentary aspects
Luca Bigazzi, the friend of Gianni Amelio for whom he worked on Lamerica (1994), The way we laughed (1998), and The Keys of the House (2004), has now become the most popular cinematographer in Italy. He has already worked on nearly 50 films, amongst which Death Of A Neapolitan Mathematician by Mario Martone (1992), Bread and Tulips (2002) by Silvio Soldini, the recent The Consequences of Love (2004) by Paolo Sorrentino, and one of the biggest Italian productions this season, Crime Novel by Michele Placido (2005). With I Like Working, he renews a collaboration started three years ago for Francesca Comencini’s Zeno, My Father’s Words and Carlo Giuliani, ragazzo.
Why was it an emergency to make such a film ?
Luca Bigazzi: The emergency is above all political. The film deals with harassment, an inhuman practice denounced by trade unions but favoured by the very employees’ behaviours which eventually push other employees to quit their jobs. It is an interesting subject on which we are only starting to get a grip. I also had a personal reason for accepting such a film: I felt like simplicity, no heavy devices, just simplicity because his film was entirely shot with a hand-held camera, with no electricity generator, only one camera assistant and one electrician. There wasn’t any technical team. We plugged in wherever we shot and managed to light the set with neons and small spotlights. The whole shooting was very realistic ; most of the times, we used the natural light. I reckon making such a film as I Like Working in such a way does not diminish its cinematic potential. On the contrary, it is a very interesting experiment on the possibilities of natural light in a fiction film.
What did this experiment reveal to you ?
I learnt a lot from it, and I saw that what I did not think I could ever do was actually possible. I could move freely, the camera was easier to move around without a tripod and without projectors. This kind of story clearly needs a realistic picture, and because we moved faster, we could shot more and leave more room for the actors’ performances, while complying with the time limits, for we only had five weeks.
Restricted budget, limited time...Why did you not just use a digital camera ?
Digital technology is heavier than it seems. The camera itself is light, but so is the Aaton A-minima Super 16 mm we used. The difference is that the reel does not require as much light as a digital camera, despite all claims to the contrary. In my opinion, digital technology is not yet suitable to all types of light.
How did you get on with Francesca Comencini ?
I was struck by her skill in handling non-professionals actors playing what they are in real life. There weren’t any patterns for the dialogues, only a few suggestions on what should happen in the scenes. The text was created spontaneously while we were shooting. This film is almost a fictional documentary, or even just a documentary. With this film, cinema resumes its dialogue with reality. It surely is a modern type of realism; yet, with the light cameras and the lack of light except for neons, it was almost like reviving the Italian post-war neorealism, when there was no money to make films.