“I like unlucky people”
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Admired cinema and television actor Rolando Ravello takes his first steps behind the recording camera with No Place like Home.
No Place like Home [+see also:
interview: Rolando Ravello
film profile] tells the tragicomic story of a family (father, mother, two sons and grandfather) who leave their dwelling to celebrate the youngest son’s first communion, only to come back and find that the locks on their house have been changed. Strangers have moved into their home. Interview with the director during the film’s presentation in Rome.
How was the idea for the film born?
Rolando Ravello: The project was born seven years ago when the real life Agostino called me in tears to tell me that his house had been stolen. Massimiliano Bruno (co-author with the director of the screenplay) and I immediately thought this could be a good subject: the battles that people find themselves fighting nowadays. It started off as being a monologue play, in which I played the role of all characters, called Via Volontè n.9, directed by Lorenzo Scurati. Finally though, thanks to Fandango and Warner, it was transformed into a film.
Your film attaches itself to the great tradition of Italian comedy. A return to a comedy of content perhaps?
We tried to tell what was going on with laughter and irony, which is something we Italians are good at. No Place like Home tells the story of a subject close to my heart. I like unlucky people, I naturally feel empathy towards them. I share this inclination with other directors such as Ivano De Matteo (author of Gli Equilibristi [+see also:
film profile], who has a cameo part). I have also made four films with Ettore Scola, and he has been like a father to me. He shaped me ethically as well as professionally. This film took six years to make, but maybe a certain type of comedy is coming back into style.
How did you manage to solicit such a measured, homogenous and coherent performance from your actors, including the younger ones?
I did a quality selection when it came to the cast, and the children are all beginners. What I asked everyone to do during rehearsals was to remain with their feet on the ground and not slip into the grotesque. I also wanted to avoid easy tears. Sometimes all you need is a look: like when Kasia Smutniak locks eyes with the Romanian girl who is about to steal her job. That look represents the battle between new categories of poor people. Same thing for the fire scene on the Roma encampment: I filmed it in a realistic way, inspiring myself from the many videos on YouTube.
Did you leave space for improvisation?
The sound and microphone people did an amazing job on that. I asked them to be able to always record everyone, even when there were lots of actors in a scene, in order not to lose potential improvisation moments. And there were many of them.
The film’s music is by Alessandro Mannarino, a beloved singer-songwriter. What pointers did you give him?
I explained to him what the film’s tone was: a story on the borders of urban fable and neorealism, as if everything was going on under the awning of a circus. I wanted to maintain comedy without losing my characters’ humanity. Agostino and his family are little heroes. They are the people we cross on the streets and no longer look at, left to their own devices to fight an everyday battle for a life of dignity. Alessandro’s eclectic and contaminated music give the film the right imprint.