“Thrillers are a fun genre to make and see”
by Michela Greco
- The debut film took a risk with genre and won over Venice audiences with an ironclad screenplay that blends thriller, love story and paranormal horror, and a nod to David Lynch
Debut filmmaker Giuseppe Capotondi’s The Double Hour [+see also:
interview: Giuseppe Capotondi
film profile] is an unusual film on the Italian scene – although a few years ago Andrea Molaioli’s The Girl by the Lake [+see also:
film profile] broke through the genre barrier, winning a host of prizes to boot – and was an even more surprising entry in the Venice fest competition. The most acclaimed Italian title on the Lido this year, it will be released domestically on 250 screens by Medusa on October 9.
Produced by Nicola Giuliano and Francesca Cima of Indigo Film (also behind Molaioli’s successful Girl), The Double Hour stars Filippo Timi and Ksenia Rappoport (whose performance won her the Best Actress Volpi Cup) as, respectively, a guard at a private villa who goes speed-dating every day and a Slovenian hotel maid. They meet, fall in love and are involved in a burglary during which he is killed. Only he returns, perhaps as a ghost, a vision, a nightmare…. The film, whose screenplay won a special mention at the Solinas Awards, is a "clockwork" thriller that at times at times dips into paranormal horror, crime story and psychological noir.
Cineuropa: Why did you choose a genre film for your feature debut?
Giuseppe Capotondi: Scriptwriters Alessandro Fabbri, Ludovica Rampoldi and Stefano Sardo and I sought out the genre most suited for telling what was actually a small story about two people who miss their second chance. I think of noirs and thrillers as real, A-series cinema, and as a fun genre to make and see.
In effect, underneath the genre packaging lies an intense love story.
Yes, The Double Hour is also a film about trust and the ability to forgive others and, above all, ourselves. What we asked ourselves while reading the screenplay was: “Can we change in life?”. Then we added a hot subject like love in typically cold thriller and noir situations.
How was your debut experience?
I don’t actually feel like a debut director. I’m 41 and have made tons of music videos and ads, probably over 150, which taught me the craft. That is, putting together a crew, being on set and bringing images home. What I thought would be most difficult in this case, seeing as how it was my first experience for the big screen, was eight weeks on the same set, yet instead there was a family atmosphere, we all got along very well.
Numerous cinematic influences can be seen in the film.
Some have even mentioned David Lynch and scenes à la Twin Peaks and I’m honoured by this, but those are big names. Actually, these [comparisons] come later. For me, The Double Hour was a love story dressed up as a crime story, with many stylistic elements of the genre: someone being buried alive, closed circuit monitors, the classic bathtub scene. But there were no knowing references, though sometimes you can be influenced without realizing it. There are threads that work in strange ways in our hearts and our minds, and which emerge spontaneously at the moment of shooting. Nevertheless, I admit I’m indebted to John Cassavetes, Roman Polanski and early Dario Argento, as well as Italian genre films of the 1970s.