"I wanted a film that would be entertaining and have a Swedish feel to it"
by Camillo de Marco
- The young Florentine director Duccio Chiarini talked to us about the production of Short Skin , a coming-of-age story about an insecure teenager suffering from a physical ailment.
The debut fiction feature film of Italian director Duccio Chiarini, Short Skin [+see also:
interview: Duccio Chiarini
film profile] was made within the context of the Biennale College – Cinema workshop held in Venice. With a budget of just 150,000 dollars for four weeks of filming and a cast of young actors, starring young rapper Matteo Creatini in the leading role, Short Skin was showcased at the Venice Film Festival in 2014, and then at the Berlin film Festival in 2015, in the Generation section. The film is due for release in Italian theatres on 23 April 2015 under distribution by Good Films, after which it will be distributed internationally: to date it has been sold by German distributor Films Boutique in France, the United Kingdom, Norway, Australia and Hong Kong. The young Florentine director, who has a string of short films and documentaries to his name, talked to us about the production of the film, a coming-of-age story about an insecure teenager suffering from a physical ailment.
Cineuropa: Can you tell us where the idea for the film came from?
Duccio Chiarini: I hit on the idea by chance: at the time I was making another film, but I was having problems with it, and seeking inspiration for a story that I could tell with few means, but a lot of heart and emotion. I read a comic strip by Gipi entitled ‘My life drawn badly’, featuring a visit from an andrologist, which reminded me of a similar personal experience. So I wrote the storyline there and then, and showed it to my fellow screenwriter Ottavia Maddeddu. She got excited about it and we carried on working on it together. Then I applied to participate in the Biennale College workshop and they accepted me. Everything about this film went surprisingly smoothly: from outlining the story for the first time to the final DCP we took to Venice. The film was finished in just over a year.
At the end of the film there is a dedication that reads: for my family”. How important was the subject of family in a film in which the only protagonist seems to be Matteo?
The idea was to portray the world of a teenager who feels trapped. Personally I’ve always been surrounded by family, perhaps excessively so: at times it’s almost like we’re a kibbutz, we do everything together. In the film there’s an ongoing contrast between the protagonist and his surroundings, between his insecurities and what appear to be the certainties of the world around him. It’s these which make him feel under constant pressure; the adult world seems very strong.
The film is visually very strong, the framing is very clean-cut. How did Turkish director of photography Baris Ozbicer get involved in the project?
At first I didn’t know him, but then we became friends. I loved his film Honey [+see also:
interview: Semih Kaplanoglu
film profile] (Bal), which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, and really liked his next film Majority as well. I have always worked with foreign directors of photography. As they don’t understand the dialogue, they’re often better placed to interpret reality. Here we wanted to get across that you can make a film that’s entertaining whilst also having the bitterness and subtlety of certain Swedish films.
How did you choose the music?
At first I wrote the story to be set in the 1990s, so I wanted to incorporate the music of a group that I really loved during that era, Grant Lee Buffalo. Then we decided to make it more contemporary, although I still wanted certain sounds, atmospheres which would take me back to my adolescence. Then I heard the music of Mark Andrew Hamilton and his band, Woodpigeon: he started sending me pieces on a regular basis that gave the film something extra, amplifying its vibe.
What’s your next project?
The film I wanted to make before this one, which I’ll now go back to working on. I had started writing the screenplay with Roan Johnson, Davide Lantieri and Marco Pettenello, now I’m re-writing it on my own. It will be a love story which portrays the confusion and feeling of loss of two thirty-year-olds who split up, told from his point of view.