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Interview

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Gabriele Muccino • Director

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by Federico Greco

Italy, the family unit and awful television. These are the main themes of Gabriele Muccino’s latest film Ricordati di me [Tráiler, Making of], scheduled for release on St Valentine’s Day. After his analysis of the life crisis of Italian thirysomethings in The Last Kiss, a film that was a huge and unexpected Italian and international hit, Muccino turns his attention to a married couple in their forties who are fed up with life. They have the same names as the protagonists of The Last Kiss : Carlo and Giulia; perhaps to emphasise continuity between one story and the next. But Stefano Accorsi has been replaced by Fabrizio Bentivoglio and Giovanna Mezzogiorno by Laura Morante. The film also stars one of Italy’s best known international faces, Monica Bellucci, who plays the woman who comes between them. Carlo and Giulia have two teenage kids.
Who can say whether Muccino’s film is a true reflection of contemporary Italy? The characters are definitely contemporary, be they adults or adolescents. “They are fragile souls and the victims of their role models,” explains the director. “They care about cars, clothes, their body image: all the things that TV hammers into our heads day after day.”
Muccino believes that the story he tells here is not just Italian, but universal. “It happens anywhere, South Africa included, that people dream of being exceptional without having any talent. We are anxious, neurotic and victims of the fact that we don’t love ourselves enough.”
The main victim of all this is the family “a place where we talk and confide in one another less and less. It’s easier to talk with a stranger you met at a party. But the families that implode leave a trail of pain behind them.”
The Italian motive is “Deficient television”.
"Television is a place where we people go and say anything that comes into their mind, and they become stars for doing so. It is even possible to confess a murder on live television and the audience shoots up. The little screen makes gives nobility to any and everything".
That, at least, is what Valentina (Nicoletta Romanoff), the 18-year-old daughter of Carlo and Giulia thinks. She dreams of becoming a showgirl. “The young girls who take part in these auditions are in their teens and really fragile and vulnerable,” says Muccino. “Nobody tells them about the importance of being as well as appearing. And their mothers are the girls’ worst enemies, as Visconti showed us in his Bellissima. Appear on TV and everyone will love you and your life will finally mean something.”

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