"Grand school of Italian cinema that tells a chapter of history"
by Gabriele Barcaro
- Interview with the Dardenne brothers, co-producers of The Front Line with Lucky Red’s Andrea Occhipinti
Seen from Liegi, where the Dardenne brothers (co-producers of The Front Line [+see also:
interview: Luc & Jean-Pierre Dardenne
interview: Renato De Maria
film profile] with Lucky Red’s Andrea Occhipinti) live and make their films, the behind-the-scenes of the production process that involved them in Renato De Maria’s film seem incomprehensible.
“We’re sorry the Italian authorities acted as they did,” says Luc Dardenne, about the umpteenth twist in the film’s belaboured production: After a statement from Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi (“The film is not apologetic, but it would be better not to finance it”), Occhipinti decided to forego funding the Ministry of Culture. “I think,” adds Jean-Pierre Dardenne, “that was the first time that in Europe someone renounced state funds in order to not contaminate a film’s fate. Kudos to Andrea, who with his act of faith demonstrated he believed that this film is stronger than any controversy”.
All controversy aside, the Dardennes are very pleased with The Front Line. Says Jean-Pierre: “We were won over by the screenplay, because it ties together many threads of the grand school of Italian cinema, and tells a chapter of the country’s history through the journey of a man who comes to terms with being a killer. Even though he just wanted a better world”.
“The rhythm of the film is a rhythm of agony,” adds Luc, “and the trip to the Rovigo prison, from which Segio wants to free his companion, is like a funeral procession, with the cars that transport the past and future victims, as well as the cadaver of the main character’s love.” Agony as well as hope, however: “De Maria also depicts the path a man makes to regain himself”, concludes Jean-Pierre, “and his attempt to rejoin humanity after having killed a father. Renato’s challenge, which he successfully pulls off thanks also to the performances of Riccardo Scamarcio and Giovanna Mezzogiorno, was to make a film that does not become a tribunal”.