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LOCARNO 2021 Piazza Grande

Ferdinando Cito Filomarino • Director of Beckett

"I wanted to explore this genre, the manhunt-thriller"

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- The director tells Cineuropa about the European background of his second feature and why he chose Greece as a location

Ferdinando Cito Filomarino • Director of Beckett

Ferdinando Cito Filomarino's 2015 debut film, Antonia [+see also:
trailer
interview: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
film profile
]
, was about the poet Antonia Pozzi. His new movie Beckett [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
film profile
]
, which has just opened the Locarno Film Festival, was produced by Luca Guadagnino and stars John David Washington, Alicia Vikander and Vicky Krieps. A genre-busting movie, it starts as a relationship drama before morphing into a complex thriller revolving around conspiracy theories and competing groups questioning capitalism in Greece.

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Cineuropa: You wrote down the first inklings of the story of Beckett in 2015. What was your motivation and desire to tell this story at the beginning?
Ferdinando Cito Filomarino: It was to explore this genre, the manhunt thriller. But finding my angle, something that could reflect my personality. So, I studied the canon a little bit, to see how these films work and what I enjoyed about them, but then the mission when I started writing, the first thing about the story, was finding something original that would be interesting today, that would be personal to me. That's how I find I can work more passionately.

Is it the protagonist's passivity that is personal to you, or is it the political situation in the background in Greece? 
Probably all of the above. I find things that I care about and put them in a sandbox of a movie that I'm making. And then I guess they will feel urgent for me in some way.

How did you experience making Beckett as a European production? 
It was nice because it's an unusual film to make in Greece. We had to find our way of creating a sort of Frankenstein production with many pieces from many different countries. It was tailored to our needs. And that was that felt very cosy in a way, and the atmosphere was very easygoing on set, even though we had a very strict schedule. Thanks to Greece's hospitality, it worked really well.

Were you familiar with Greece beforehand? 
I was not very familiar with Greece beforehand. I was fortunate to meet with somebody from the local production in Greece, who drove me around mainland Greece. I needed a location in the mountains and various other situations. This person gave me precious insight into what I was seeing and the people I was meeting and the culture in many ways. And so literally, by driving around is how I found the places to shoot and, in some cases, I even constructed some scenes backwards, based on some locations that I found that seemed so striking that they needed to be in the movie.

There are hints, with a picture of President Obama and the backdrop of political turmoil, that the film is taking place in 2015, when Greece was at the forefront of a conversation about austerity measures and its relationship with the European Union. Did you want to make a film about this? 
I think this movie is about a man who is in a personal crisis and finds himself in a very complex political situation that he does not understand. What happened in Greece in those years and what I've been inspired by is definitely a consequence of European politics, not exclusively of Greek politics.

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