Director Ferzan Ozpetek (“Facing Window”, “Harem suaré”, “Hamamhe Turkish Bath”), has made his first movie not to be set in Rome in Lecce: “Mine Vaganti’, starring Riccardo Scamarcio and Nicole Grimaudo will be released on March 12th, distributed by 01.
Ozpetek says: “We were at the Toronto Film Festival to present “A perfect day” and when Domenico Procacci proposed the “Mine Vaganti” project to me, I thought he’d suddenly “˜gone mad’. As a producer he is attracted to difficult things and often feels the need to go back and make a movie in Apulia where something personal and secret binds him to the locations.”
For his part, Domenico Procacci, the Apulian producer “˜par excellence’, and one of the leading Italian film-makers in recent years (“Barney’s Version”, “Gomorra”, ” Kiss Me Again”), says that he is excited about going back to work in his native region:
“When I started making movies there was a lot of talk about the crisis in the Italian movie industry. But recently there has been a lot of enthusiasm. This has been achieved through the hard work of people who are committed to change: producers, directors, distributors. The contribution of reliable professionals working in audiovisuals, like the Apulia Film Commission, is fundamental to a virtuous political context like the one created by the Regional Government of Apulia”.
Producer Donatella Botti (“Keep Your Head”, “L’odeur du sang”, “The Best of Youth” ) is not from Apulia but, for her, the impact with the territory was decisive: “I was favorably impressed not just by the relationship with the Apulia Film Commission, but also by the relationship with all the other smaller municipal and provincial organizations that supported us. In Apulia there is still a taste for the magic of cinema”.
Donatella Botti is enthusiastic about the two very different movies she has produced in Apulia: “˜L’uomo nero’, written, directed by and starring Sergio Rubini, and scriptwriter Giorgia Cecere’s directing debut, “˜Il primo incarico’, to be released in Italy soon.
This territory has been a constant source of inspiration for a native Apulian like Sergio Rubini, who displayed the full radiance of the region in his last movie, “˜L’Uomo Nero’.
Rubini says: “In my movies I have chosen not to represent Apulia in a nostalgic way, but like a space in the mind, I wanted to draw a mental and metaphysical portrait of the region.
My relationship with the south is a strange one. I left home when I was very young. Studying at the Academy I even lost some of my regional accent. It was a clean break and I didn’t think I could return. But then, slowly, I moved closer to the places I had known as a child, the places where I grew up.
With “L’anima gemella” I wanted to exploit an archaic fiction about the south and went to Salento which is remote and fascinating.
I wanted to tell a story that was infused with sentiment in a place like Salento which is infused with color.
This is an “˜extreme’ visual space which is perfectly suited to the story I wanted to tell: the blue sky and sea collide with the white stone.
This infusion justifies the altered dimension which is fundamental for a story that blends dreams with reality.
Salento is a land in a perennial state of intoxication founded on contrasts such as the archaic and the modern, passion and love.
I wanted to photograph a legendary land.
Fairy tales do not exist in the south, instead we have Myths”.
The above considerations are obviously shared by Pupi Avati (“The Friends at the Margherita Cafe”, “Giovanna’s Father”, “The Heart is Elsewhere”) since one of his most successful movies was made in Apulia – “˜La Seconda Notte di Nozze’.
“With that movie I wanted to make a kind of foray into southern Italy where the prerogatives of our culture are still maintained and preserved.
I am convinced that, today, the closer you move towards the south in our country, the more you find the real Italy.
Especially the Italy I come from. In the north and central part of the country, the Italian identity has been stripped away.
Despite all its problems “” some of which are quite dramatic “” on a cultural level the south has maintained its relationship with the spirit and beauty of the Italy I recognize”.
Another director who is not from Apulia, Daniele Vicari (“Velocità massima”, “Il mio paese”, “Partisans”), was favorably impressed when working in Bari on “˜The Past is a Foreign Land’ which, with a “sulfurous” photograph, captures the most nocturnal and metropolitan aspects of Bari.
“We received great collaboration from the city, despite the fact that we caused the citizens a lot of inconvenience with our nighttime filming of car races. It was an interesting and important experience and I was particularly struck with the great professionalism and help we received.”
Edoardo Winspeare (“Pizzicata”, “Sangue vivo”, “Galantuomini”) is from Apulia but, unlike many of his colleagues, he still lives in the province of Lecce.
Winspeare explains that his love for cinema is strongly linked to his love for the region.
“Everything comes from the enormous passion I have for my homeland. Somebody once said “˜Talk about your village and you will talk about the world’.
My stories are set in Apulia, but they all have a very strong universal character.
My mother was born in Budapest, her mother was born in Prague, my greatgrandmother was born in Krakow and I have an English last name, from my Neapolitan father, but I live in Apulia.
I am a mixture of different races and, although I don’t have even a drop of Apulian blood in me, culturally I feel Apulian because I live in a land which has a very complex identity just like the cinema it produces “” and I am not just talking about my own movies”.
This complexity is probably the “plus” that is starting to attract film-makers to Apulia from outside Italy.
During the last Venice Film Festival the “Giornate degli Autori” included a movie by Serbian director Goran Paskalievic (“Bure Baruta”), “Honeymoons”, filmed in Brindisi in 2009 with the support of the Apulia Film Commission.
And before that, “˜Ne Retourne Pas’ by Marina De Van was presented in Cannes, most of which was filmed in and around Lecce, and starred Sophie Marceau and Monica Bellucci (“The Sorcerers Apprentice”, “Baarìa”, “La Deuxienne Souffle”).
Bellucci remembers: “I made my debut in “La Riffa” directed by Francesco Laudadio and was pleased to return to work in a region that, over the years, has grown from a theatrical point of view, in the same way that I have grown.
At the time I was just a model who dreamed of making movies and knew nothing about anything.
I had never been back to Apulia since then: it is inevitable to become fond of this region.
I think that Lecce is an incredible city, a true discovery”.
Finally, Bollywood is also increasingly using locations in Apulia.
In 2008 the region hosted two Indian productions, both directed by Sajd Kahn: “Bachna de Aseeno”, filmed in Mattinata and “Maska”, a love story set in Trani, Alberobello and Salento.
Sajd Kahn also returned to Apulia in 2009, at the beginning of September, for “Housefull”, choosing to work in Mattinata again.