Il traduttore: Manipulating reality is but a game of words
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Claudia Gerini stars alongside young Kamil Jula in the new noir drama by Massimo Natale, an Italian-Polish co-production released today with Europictures
“Napkins and tea towels don’t mix” is a line that is used on several occasions in the new film by Massimo Natale, Il traduttore [+see also:
film profile]. Here, the “napkin” and “tea towel” are Anna (Claudia Gerini), a sophisticated newly widowed gallery owner, and Andrei (Polish actor Kamil Kula), a 22-year-old Romanian immigration seeking his fortune. Two worlds that would probably never collide were it not for the fact that Andrei, as well as being a pizza chef by night, is a multilingual translator, who Anna hires to translate the diary of her deceased husband, written in German. But how faithful are the translations of this young social climber, who is willing to go so far as to manipulate reality to reach his goals?
It is around ambiguity, opportunism and ambition that this noir drama revolves, and certainly not around love: despite quickly giving into their carnal urges, Anna and Andrei don’t love each other, not even for one second. She finds fleeting comfort in his arms at an inconclusive time in her life; he sees an opportunity to climb the social ladder in her. Ascent, promotion, recognition: the same aspirations of the stubborn police inspector played by Anna Safroncik, who uses Andrei’s translations, with the latter summoned to listen to hours and hours of wiretaps, to catch a Romanian drug trafficker and make a good impression, whatever the cost.
“It’s a whirligig of different characters and personalities, at the centre of which is Andrei, a 22-year-old who finds himself catapulted into a foreign country”, explains the director, on his second film following on from Martino’s Summer [+see also:
film profile]. “This boy most certainly has bigger aspirations for himself than working as a pizza maker. He lives in a world that is too small for him, we only see him smile when he visits Anna’s gallery, all dressed up, because that’s the world he aspires to”. The theme of integration is very much present in the film, in particular when it comes to Andrei and his Ukrainian roommate (Piotr Rogucki), who tells him to stay grounded because “they’ll always look down at us with disdain anyway”.
A web of the many faces of humanity and different nationalities (Andrei also has a girlfriend in Moldavia waiting for a residency permit so that she can come and join him in Italy), Il traduttore, with photography by Daniele Ciprì, was filmed entirely in Trento (in partnership with the Trentino Film Commission) and is an Italian-Polish co-production. The cast also features Silvia Delfino and Marcello Mazzarella. The film was released today, on 26 May, in Italian theatres with Europictures.
(Translated from Italian)