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Alessio Liguori • Director of In the Trap

“We should create a system which takes Italy’s glorious genre offerings abroad”


- We met with Alessio Liguori, the director and producer of In the Trap which has already been sold in 23 countries, on the occasion the Trieste Science+Fiction Festival

Alessio Liguori • Director of In the Trap

Director and producer Alessio Liguori sat down with us at the Trieste Science+Fiction Festival to discuss In the Trap [+see also:
film review
interview: Alessio Liguori
film profile
, a psychological horror film set in England which has already been sold in 23 countries.

Cineuropa: You made a very specific choice in In the Trap: to use the English language in order to internationalise the film.
Alessio Liguori: There are various schools of thought. For me, English is a conditio sine qua non for the international distribution of a genre film. It’s also important that the actors’ mother-tongue is English, because, sadly, it doesn’t work very well with Italian actors. I’ve tried it in the past; it was a good exercise, but in an international context, mother-tongue English works better. This doesn’t mean you forget your own, Italian roots. You can make a film impregnated with your particular culture, and not just your Italian culture but also your European culture, and maybe we should start thinking in European terms. For me, In the Trap feels like a European film; it’s not Italian, nor is it simply international. It follows international linguistic codes in terms of its aesthetic and the performances within the film. In terms of the type of story we wanted to tell, we needed a specific aesthetic, with regard to both the set and the cast; we needed it to fit within universally recognisable linguistic codes. The film’s casting took place in London, and there is an Italian presence in the form of the actress Miriam Galanti - it made sense to put her excellent English to use in the role of an Italian character abroad. The soundtrack was recorded with an orchestra in Budapest. The interior shots were filmed in Italy, and the external shots in Devon, in England.

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The home in the film is a character in and of itself.
They say that it really is haunted, and there was a moment during the film’s production where we thought it would be impossible to reconstruct the apartment because the costs were exorbitant. The set designer worked hard with the location manager to find haunted residences in Europe. She found a few in Germany, and then this apartment in the South West of England, which we fell in love with. The owner allowed us to film there until we’d managed to reconstruct the apartment, which was perfectly aligned with the aesthetic of the house in Devon.

In the Trap falls somewhere between a demonological work and a psychological study. What kind of research did you carry out?
The idea was to create this blurred boundary; to portray something which could be read on two levels. Those who believe in such things might see it as a manifestation of the Devil, others will see it as a psychiatric issue. As is the case in the real world. Real exorcisms are devoid of any physical, demonic manifestation as such, and so there’s a thin line between what’s true and what isn’t. Exorcism isn’t the beating heart of the film; In the Trap is a drama, it’s the story of Philip, of the transformation of this boy who grows up under the strict aegis of his mother and has to find the drive to become a man, defeating the demons of his past. This takes place through the female figure and the power of love. Or the power of faith, which many believe translates into love. The demons which try to get into his home are a metaphor for the exorcism which Philip is enacting upon himself. In terms of the portrayal of the exorcism, I looked to The Exorcism of Emily Rose and I watched so many videos of supposed exorcisms which I found online, as well as speaking with exorcist priests and carrying out research together with my screenwriter Daniele Cosci.       

You’ve created a production company which you’re also using to make your next film.
Yes, I created the production company Mad Rocket with Daniele Coscia, Alessandro Risuleo and Simone Bracci. Mad Rocket co-produced In the Trap with its parent company Dreamworldmovies, belonging to Luigi De Filippis. We’ve already finished the second film, which is called Shortcut. It comes out next year via Minerva.

In the Trap has been sold in 23 countries, including the US, Russia and South America. It shows that there’s a place for Italian authors of genre films in the international market.
In terms of the internationalisation of the film, this can be attributed to the hard work carried out by True Colours, who are presenting the title, at the moment, at the American Film Market. It will be released in Italy on 23 January 2020 via Zenit. Yes, Italian cinema has a glorious and universally renowned history. Everyone knows our past; our present, not so much, and our future, even less. That’s why I think none of us - producers, distributers, directors, screenwriters - should be focusing purely on our own projects; we should also be working to create a system which takes our work abroad, into an industry which has become global.

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(Translated from Italian)

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