Bernardo Bertolucci • Director
Return to cinema with a sunny and essential film
- Nine years since The Dreamers, the master shoots Io e te, based on a book by Ammaniti and screened in Cannes out of competition
The competition? I preferred not to go there, a few catty people might have thought that the Golden Palm for lifetime achievement last year wasn't enough for me. Bernardo Bertolucci is having a coffee on the Croisette with the Italian press, on the day before the screening of his new film out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, Io e te [+see also:
film profile]. The return behind the camera of a great Italian master, nine years since The Dreamers, with a "sunny film and a style that is more essential and less baroque than my previous ones".
Following a long period of depression due to his illness which confines him to his wheelchair, a book by Niccolò Ammaniti was an opportunity to shoot a film which only needs one set: a cellar. This is where the fourteen-year-old protagonist Lorenzo (Jacopo Olmo Antinori) hides away, to escape the world and his mother who thinks he is on a school trip in the mountains."Teenagers are all in their own way problematic, it's typical of that age and it's something which I find moving: you scream at your parents, you go into hysterics, just like the ones we see in the film", says Bertolucci. "Lorenzo wants to be alone but he can't, because he is unexpectedly overcome by this rage", and the reference is to his step-sister Olivia. "She is the pick-lock who little by little will budge Lorenzo into confronting a reality which he has always refused to get to know. She forces him to have feelings". For the part of the young rebel and drug-addict Bertolucci chose Tea Falco, video artist and photographer in her first role as a leading character. "She gave a lot to the character and I liked her Sicilian accent".
The director wanted a different ending to the one in the book. "I was immediately gripped by the strength of the young boy. It was a challenge for me: would I be able to reproduce the complexity of the book or would I have produced a new one? I am not an illustrator, normally when I adapt a book I am tempted to tear it apart and then reconstruct it. I didn't like the ending, and Ammaniti himself suggested I cut it, so we opted for an open ending, in which you can imagine the two teenagers' future".
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