by Camillo De Marco
- We 40 year-olds are the bridge between the older and younger generations. And we’re the most confused
Valeria Golino and Valerio Binasco are the two 40 year-olds in the film, the "generation in between," the most confused generation. Golino plays Maria, an elementary school teacher who should be setting a good example yet lets herself go and loses her head over the much younger Gianluca (Riccardo Scamarcio). Her husband Alessando (Valerio Binasco) convincingly expresses the contemporary incapacity to face crises.
Cineuropa : What did you love about your provincial characters?
Valerio Binasco: When I read the screenplay, I was disappointed. I’d played a lot of loser roles, but never losers in love. I started studying the character’s nuances, until Valeria arrived. She is blessed with a sort of essence, an emanation of all things precious. I had to share a profound intimacy with her and this was, to me, a vertiginous experience.
Valeria Golino: We 40 year-olds are the bridge between the older and younger generations, we’re the most confused because we still have notions of those bygone ideals that were passed on to us, such as dignity and passion. However, Maria fascinated me for the force of her honesty, she betrays [her husband] but she doesn’t lie, she doesn’t justify herself, she’s not a hypocrite. I think it’s difficult to accept this kind of character. Since she has no regrets, the audience doesn’t try to like her. Yet therein lies the character’s beauty, in her total honesty. I don’t believe in candor as an absolute virtue, we need to mediate, be cautious, otherwise we risk hurting others and making them suffer. But I’d like to be like Maria at times.
Riccardo Scamarcio: My character is part of a type that really does exist, I have friends who are as totally passive as Gianluca, who live in a state of suspension. Gianluca feels the need to choose, but never does so, and boredom is the main aspect of his existence. It’s a color in the film, a color that I think is necessary in depicting this environment, this provincial life.
This is a film in which you can feel the theatrical influence, which must be gratifying for an actor.
Valerio Binasco: Yes, the writing in this film strives to be deeper and more contemporary, with a strong dialogue structure that is not improvised, not just tossed out. In small town life, communication between generations is obligatory because the young live side by side with old. But the young don’t speak the older generation’s dialect, there is a linguistic break, and the loss of a language means the loss of values. The values of the anti-fascist Resistance, for example. The gun once used by partisans that my character gets to kill the person who stole his woman is a parody of the action because our generation is incapable of reacting.
Valeria Golino: It was an experience that offered me a great naturalness in acting, as if it were a game. This is the reason why actors do what they do. You create an alternate life, as important as any life off the set.
Riccardo, the Italian cinema seems to have found in you a new, up-and-coming actor. What kind of relationship did you have with Paravidino, himself an actor, in his first experience directing for the cinema?
Riccardo Scamarcio: I discovered something different when I saw the film, certainly not the idea I had while we were shooting. This was very gratifying, it’s as if the character had his own life within the film. This is what I like about cinema: only in their entirety do films manage to communicate sensations. The scenes in which I felt the most inadequate are the best scenes. Fausto urged me to distance myself from my idea of the character. We discussed it a lot. In the end, what came through was neither my idea of the character, nor the director’s, but something different, more alive. A character who lives in an unknown zone.