Photography Cinematography – The Talented Mr. Ripley

Cinematography – The Talented Mr. Ripley

Giordana Bonanno

Sanremo and ligurian landscapes, Fiorello, the music.

What does it remind you of? The Festival, of course. But if you pay attention, you might remember that the same suggestions are also part of a very famous film by director Anthony Minghella: The Talented Mr. Ripley, the acclaimed 1999 U.S. film whose backdrop is beautiful Italian locations, from the Ligurian coast via the Principe di Napoli gallery to the Martorana church in Palermo.

That explains “Sanremo”, but what about Fiorello?

The film, which received five Oscar nominations, was another important achievement for the showman who tells of a normal working day at a club in Capri suddenly interrupted by an unusual request from a guest who invited him on stage to sing Tu vuò fà l’americano. “Right in front of me in the audience, I saw a man standing up and applauding; I called him over and had him sing as well. Shortly after I went back to my seat, he approached me and asked to talk to me: ‘You’re very good, do you want to make a movie with me?’ A few minutes later he introduced himself to me and I realized he was director Minghella! He wrote the scene of Tu vuo fa l’americano for me, telling me what he had experienced that evening.”

A lucky episode that framed one of the film’s most iconic scenes.

Based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel of the same name, the plot focuses on the “talent” of the bright young protagonist forced by his social ambitions to wipe the slate clean of his art, in order to approach a dark but much more golden world.

The film is set in the 1950s and boasts an exceptional cast including Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow. The suspenseful *no spoilers ending leaves the viewer a bit perplexed, and it’s different from the one in the novel. 

And here we come to music, which also plays a very important role in the film in defining Italy and the era of jazz. The first category includes songs such as “Mongibello” and “Rusariu di la Mmaculata” by the Mancuso Brothers, the already mentioned “Tu vuò fà l’americano” by Renato Carosone and Nicola Salerno. For jazz, we find songs such as “The Champ” by Dizzy Gillespie, “Ko-Ko” by Charlie Parker, “Nature Boy” by Eden Ahbez performed by Miles Davis, “My Funny Valentine” (by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart) which can be heard in the film both in the original version by Chet Baker and in the interpretation by Matt Damon and The Guy Barker International Quintet.

Now there is almost everything, the only thing missing is the warm atmosphere of the Mediterranean summer in the shots of photographer Arturo Bambo: the crowded beaches, the salt drying on the skin, the always wet hair, the sunsets over the sea, the summer houses. All things that we are missing at the moment but that, browsing through the gallery, could help us to escape the monotony and make us savor those summer moments.

Have a great summer holidays. (We hope).

Did you know: This is Matt Damon’s favorite film of those he has made.

Genre: Thriller
Director: Anthony Minghella
Director of photography: John Seale
Writers:  Patricia Highsmith, Anthony Minghella 
Stars: Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow 

Read also: Cinematography – Joker

Written by Giordana Bonanno
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