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Alessandro Aronadio • Director

“I’m happy that I’m part of this historical era in Italian film”


- VENICE 2016: Cineuropa caught up with Italian director Alessandro Aronadio, who presented his feature Ears in the Biennale College – Cinema section at Venice

Alessandro Aronadio • Director
(© la Biennale di Venezia - foto ASAC)

We sat down with Italian director Alessandro Aronadio, who presented his feature Orecchie [+see also:
film review
interview: Alessandro Aronadio
film profile
in the Biennale College – Cinema section of the 73rd Venice Film Festival.

Cineuropa: What is the guiding thread between your two films Ears and One Life Maybe Two [+see also:
film profile
and where did this desire of yours to question everything that surrounds you come from?
Alessandro Aronadio: It was born from the fact that in my opinion, you make films to share questions, rather than to provide answers or send messages. Sharing questions that are my own, that concern my life and what I see around me, including the people I know. Apart from the randomness, actually a point in common, that I noticed in both films, they both focus on the relationship between a generally solitary individual and his need to be part of a group. In each case this is portrayed differently: in the first in a dramatic way, and in the second in more of a tragicomic way, but in both cases there is an individual who feels a bit like a fish out of water. It’s a conflict, a war between the desire for anonymity, the desire to be self-sufficient, and the need to be part of a group, to have an identity. In Ears the character doesn’t even have a name, he’s completely anonymous and ends up understanding that he must make compromises with this world that he considers mad, stupid and full of ignorance; the alternative risk is anonymity and invisibility.

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Where do you place yourself among Italian writers of today and how do you see Italian film?
I see a lot of confusion. Total chaos from which every now and again, beautiful and unexpected things emerge completely unconsciously with madness, enthusiasm and passion. In some cases, low funding is probably actually a big advantage; it pushes you to find different ways of doing things, new alternatives, and in this sense lately I’ve seen some great things in Italian film. I’m happy that I’m part of this historical era in Italian film.

So how important is it to ask questions and question your own life as the character in your film does?
Most probably, after years of extreme rationalism, my story is a bit of a white flag, an act of surrender and acceptance which shows that perhaps believing in something, call it God, call it love or football, helps you to be less afraid, as the priest played by Rocco Papaleo cynically says at the end of the film. At any rate, the function of religion, which is not only the opiate of the people, becomes a way of living a better quality of life, of being able to spare the questions that lead to loneliness, marginalisation and happiness in any case. Because there are no answers; that’s the problem. It’s a great eulogy to a life that the protagonist doesn’t have: it’s chaos. Our anonymous protagonist is forced to get out of the house and live in this chaos full of narrow tunnels of grotesque horrors that are the reality we live in everyday. I didn’t invent anything.

Do you work differently when you write a screenplay knowing that you won’t have to direct the film?
The approach is completely different. When I write a film I have to direct, I imagine it. As I was writing Ears I imagined it in black and white, and I already knew how I wanted things staged. When I write for other people, it takes a huge load off, because you can just write and it’s the only thing you have to think about. Writing to then direct, on the other hand, means that the writing is just the first stage on a very long and tiresome journey, so I really like writing and then giving the various directors I work with and have great esteem for the possibility of directing the story.

To date you’ve made two very different genre films. Do you have any plans to diversify even further in your future work?
I hope I will have the good fortune to always be able to switch between genres, because I get bored very easily. Even as a viewer, I really like directors who try something new every time and take risks as a result. I want my next film to be something new, and I already have a few ideas up my sleeve.

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(Translated from Italian)

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