“It’s not an autobiography, even if it’s certainly a very personal film”
by Camillo de Marco
- Alice Rohrwacher has been awarded the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival with her second film The Wonders
At the Cannes Film Festival, thrilled and satisfied "because we’re here after so much hard work, pushed to our limits and after all the trust which we were given", Alice Rohrwacher is the only Italian in competition with her second film The Wonders [+see also:
interview: Alice Rohrwacher
interview: Tiziana Soudani
Cineuropa: There are many similarities between this story and your biography.
Alice Rohrwacher: Yes, that’s the clearest element. I talk about things that belong to me, my region, the world of bees and a multilingual family. But it’s not an autobiography, even though it’s certainly a very personal film.
Did it help you to have your older sister Alba present in the film?
It was completely natural between us and at the same time surprisingly so. Working with my sister was like being able to work in my own home, maybe even in pyjamas. One might discover a certain light coming in through the window which we had never noticed.
In the film there are elements which place the story in a '90s context.
We don’t know exactly when we are talking about; all I’ll say is that this story takes place after 1968. And that’s because in 1968 something broke and one had to go back and put the pieces back together. This story, however, concerns the present; the time has come to forgive something of the past. I wanted to follow the firstborn daughter up to the moment in which she succeeds in feeling affection towards herself and for her story. Affection and not exaltation or rage. Affection allows her to take a step forward.
The father’s character is harsh, authoritative, but at the same time full of love for his daughters, whom he wants to protect in some way.
Wolfgang really knows what he wants to say, but he’s trapped in a linguistic prison, because he doesn’t speak good Italian or French, which he uses sometimes with his wife. This makes him aggressive. There is a huge loneliness within him. I wanted to look at the contradictions of this man and of this country. And the power of images does just that - showing the contradiction without cancelling it out.
The sudden arrival of TV in the story takes a rather Fellini direction, dreamy and abstract.
I would say it’s very sweet television. It causes pain, but that pain is not due to what television has become historically, rather due to the media itself. The TV in fact is a box; it looks to place people in a setting. But this family doesn’t allow itself to be boxed up. The people on the programme don’t have bad intentions; it’s the media that is bad, in the etymological sense, the media is the thing that imprisons.
Why did you want Monica Bellucci in the role of the anchorwoman of the TV programme?
It’s difficult to imagine anyone else in that role! We needed an undisputed icon who would land in the country where we filmed with many non-professional actors. Her presence meant something to everyone. And then she’s also a woman with a fantastic sense of self-irony.
(Translated from Italian)