The bewilderment of modern man
by Camillo de Marco
- The director rose to the challenge of making a dynamic film from a novel set entirely in a parked car
The director rose to the challenge of making a dynamic film from a novel set entirely in a parked car “I hope I’ve managed to depict the bewildered loss we ‘modern’ men feel when facing our inability to mourn, unable to turn to religious or non-religious traditions,” said director Antonello Grimaldi. He rose to the challenge of making a film out of a novel by an author that screenwriter Francesco Piccolo deems highly digressive.
Picoclo, who wrote the script with Laura Paolucci and Nanni Moretti, "dug into the backbone of the story trying to find the elementary plot around which to construct both the character and the world around him". The aim was to make the film as simple as possible with respect to the book.
"The work of simplifying the screenplay helped me very much,” commented Grimaldi. “The true challenge was in setting the film in a single square, with a man sitting on a bench. This is much more cinematic than a parked car, in which the book is set. It would have been hard to shoot 14 scenes in an unmoving car."
While Moretti’s presence was potentially overpowering, Grimaldi has very clear ideas on the "Morettisation" of his film: "If anything, it was the other way around, it was Moretti who had to get 'Palladinised” (the name of Moretti’s character is Pietro Palladini). Actually, there is a lot of Michele Apicella from Moretti’s first films".
There are two female characters in the film that are very important and very diverse. "Eleonora and Marta represent two feminine mirror images. Eleonora is metaphysical, and also the story’s engine. If Pietro hadn’t saved her in the sea, there would have been no story to tell. She’ s the one who manages to bring him back to life, she helps him get over his mourning. Marta, on the other hand, speaks to him, she involves him in everything she thinks and does, bringing him back to earth".
The much-talked-about sex scene between Moretti and Ferrari is unexpected. "It was a choice during the scriptwriting phase. That scene represents Pietro’s return to life, after his mourning, and we decided it should arrive suddenly, because the character’s recovery is sudden".
Grimaldi referred to the set as being that of a rock film, despite the fact that both the subject matter and Moretti’s presence are decidedly arthouse. "Quiet Chaos is a like a rock concert,” he explained. “The soundtrack was very important to me. In the novel, Radiohead speak to the character through the lyrics of their songs. [Domenico] Procacci pays the most attention to film scores of all Italian producers, and exploiting this weakness of his I suggested buying the rights to three songs – by Radiohead, Rufus Wainwright and Stars. Thus, we were able to edit those scenes around that music. I think they’re the most beautiful scenes in the film. Paolo Buonvino wrote the original score and adapted his sounds to the songs. Short, minimalist chords that open up at the end”.