After his promising feature debut with “Quello che cerchi”, recorded in digital in 2001, Marco Simon Puccioni will be bringing his second film to the “Panorama” section of the Berlinale: “Riparo “” Anis tra di noi”.
The parallel stories of three characters from different “worlds” “” rich Anna (Maria De Medeiros), working-class Mara (Antonia Liskova) and immigrant Anis (Mounir Ouadi) “” whose intertwined journeys take place against a backdrop of an Italy which is totally focused on work, and a society which is finding it difficult to face up to homosexuality, immigration, globalization and social inequality. Produced by Mario Mazzarotto for Intelfilm and France's Adésif, with the collaboration of Rai Cinema, “Riparo” was shot almost entirely in Friuli Venezia Giulia “” in the city and province of Udine “” with the support of the regional Film Commission. It has also been recognized as being of “cultural interest” by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. Cinema & Video interviewed the director just a few hours after it was announced that his film would be taking part in the German festival.
What is your immediate reaction to the news that your movie will be taking part at the Berlin Film Festival?
We'd calculated the time between starting and finishing shooting and knew that Berlin would be the first important festival to cross our path. Also, “Riparo” is a movie that fits in well with the choices normally made by the German festival. I don't want to make rash comparisons but I wanted it to be a bit like some of Fassbinder's work, where a small human group faces social and political problems.
Did the fact that the movie was set in Friuli have a strong influence on the economics of the story?
The landscape was very important in presenting the parallel stories of the three characters and, at times, it became an actual character in its own right. Since it is set in Friuli Venezia Giulia, “Riparo” looks more like a European movie because the region has characteristics which bring it closer to a certain kind of Europe “” Belgium, Germany, France, alternating factories and countryside “” rather than our own Italy. A world, the north-east, which places a strong emphasis on work – the hub people's lives rotate around.
How did the people living in the region react to your production?
The local population welcomed us which greatly facilitated the logistics of shooting. We filmed in and around Udine, in some wonderful places like Villa Manin, a 16th century building that is now an important contemporary art center. We also hired various local actors, particularly for the smaller roles.
This movie has one unusual feature for an Italian production, the protagonists are all foreign actors: Portuguese, Slovakian and Maghrebian.
Yes, “Riparo” is a cosmopolitan movie. We deliberately chose actors of different origin, with different languages and accents, even for the minor roles. We wanted to show Europe as it is today, how it mixes, integrates and contaminates. I also cannot deny that we hope a cast like this, which includes Maria De Medeiros, will attract an international audience and market.
When does the movie go on general release?
Distributors move in mysterious ways. So far some Italian and international companies have shown an interest, but there is nothing definite. We hope Berlin will help us out here. A 20 minute clip was presented at Business Street during the “Festa di Roma” and market operators displayed a certain amount of interest. It is curious to think that my first movie, “Quello che cerchi” also successfully debuted in Germany, at the Mannheim Festival.
Cinema&Video International 1/2-2007