Spring keeps on bringing new and – we hope – beautiful things with its hot breeze.
Not only outdoor but also indoor. Indoor where? At the Cinema, for example.
Beside the big-time directors, Sorrentino and Garrone, other interesting movies are coming out like Youtopia directed by Berardo Carboni. An extremely contemporary story with a wonderful Matilda De Angelis. A divided tale ready to divide.
We met Berardo to talk about this and other things.
How and When the idea jumped out?
I had done a movie about Second Life completely shot in Machinima that it’s a system that let you shoot inside the game, in short you hacker the videogame and start making a movie. In our case we built some sceneries…But all the characters and the biggest part of the setting were already there. I’ve made a casting with all the avatars! This thing, at the beginning, should have been the storyboard for a movie that I’ve never made.
But during this experience I became nearer and nearer to virtual worlds in general, to the hacker’s ethic and to the sociological experiences that we could have when we have an immersive relationship with this kind of role-playing game in which you meet people and start a relationship with them in a virtual world. And you never see these people…and at the end you can have feelings for these “puppets” and for the person who is behind, who talks to you, who makes you listen to music, who takes you around in this new world…
It’s so interesting because maybe this is the purest kind of love that goes beyond the body image…
The surreal paradox is that the image could still deviates you because, if you enter inside this dynamic, it could happen that you like also the puppet that is the representation of that person that has chosen to be seen like this.
But it could be of any gender or age…
Not any gender because they talk with their voice…But, for example in my experience I got mad for a puppet who didn’t speak at all! She (or He?) wrote only.
Beautiful, so this is where all started…
Yes, this is when I understood I wanted to narrate the virtual experience and its interaction with the real world. And I wanted also to tell the different aspects of reality: on one side the ultra-cynical world where we live that is the main plot, on the other the new possibilities for another kind of future. I didn’t want that the message was an hopeless world fated to greyness and total cynicism.
Youtopia tries to narrate these two different worlds and it’s also a coming-of-age story because the character of Matilda starts completely included in the ideology of commercialisation still dominating in the contemporary world but she redeems herself because she discovers new values and desires…It’s not a dramatic movie, or better, it’s an happily dramatic movie. The news of the day is that has been forbidden to minors of fourteen-years-old: the movie has a naughty theme but its main feature is a sort of moral content. It doesn’t look at the world with detachment, it takes a position as in a morality tale. Actually I think it’s very educational. I want also to say that the animation has been realised in the L&C Studio with the open source softer named Blender.
How and When you decided that Matilda was the right choise?
I worked with a series of persons that somehow inspired the character, some of them were right for the role but I decided to make a big casting anyway. On the other side, Donatella Finocchiaro and Haber have already been decided a lot of time before.
I’ve seen Matilda for the first time when a friend of mine made me see the teaser of “Veloce come il vento” (Fast as the wind) and I liked her a lot…I called her agency to communicate we were making a casting. Matilda is an overwhelming actress but I wasn’t sure because I knew that this choice would affect the next two years of my life, but at the end I made it, fortunately…
Actually at the beginning there was a peculiar problem: she refused to get undressed.
And how did you managed this?
Donatella suggested me to talk with her American coach, Doris Hicks. We decided to try and overcome this problem with nakedness with her support…
Was it funny?
Yes, indeed. I sent Matilda to reach Doris in Milan. I got there three days after, as we had decided and they were closed in the house, so I took a look inside the window and I’ve seen Matilda dancing in her underwear. I rang the bell, entered and Doris made me get naked too. We started to dance all together (laugh). From that moment the problem was solved.
In addition to Donatella, Haber and Matilda there is another actor I appreciate a lot, Federico Rosati. He has been the leading character of my previous work, “Shooting Silvio”. Here he plays the most ambiguous role that he manages borderline perfectly. We worked a lot on this.
Yes, it’s also the most slimy role with that of Haber, even more indeed!
Yes, it’s true. Because Haber has some kind of desperate beauty at least. But Rosati enjoyed the challenge, for example, he decided that he had to have braces and financed it himself with a sponsor. It’s been very funny (laugh).
How do you feel about being at the movie theatres with Youtopia at the same time of Sorrentino with Loro, a film about Berlusconi as your Shooting Silvio was?
Bad (laugh). I suppose that Loro will be a stunning visual movie but with a detached and cynical look. Sorrentino is a post-modern director, full of refined quotes and miraculous camera movements, but reality for him is a sort of cultural matter as the pulp magazines for Tarantino. There’s no willingness to change something and I think this is typical of everyone who formed himself at the epoch of the end of History.
Even if he’s a few years older than me I consider him a master, my cinema derives directly from that dialectic relationship with that attitude, from a deep esteem but also from the strong will of taking some distance. In my opinion this is the most important thing in the time we are living, a time where the system of values is collapsing and we live in a universe without world, as Badieu says, and I repeat it day after day, we have to build new imaginaries and new cognitive meanings. I try to make movies with the power to activate possibilities and change the reality.
Do you want to talk about Me Too case?
We can try…It makes sense because one of the scriptwriters is the Iena (Hyena) who has made the investigation on this case, Dino Gianrusso.
What I think is that there is a sort of malpractice deep-rooted and, unfortunately, almost consubstantial in this work sector. And this is has to be deleted, for sure. But I think that sometimes it’s difficult to see borders…because the relationship with director and leading-role actors has no borders. It’s not a matter of sex, it could be also a platonic thing, not related with sex orientations and without romantic implications, but for sure it’s something very strong.
A very different thing is to impose sexual services to assign a role, that is a gruesome practice. But let us leave the ugliness to the others.
I’m preparing an historical movie and a trilogy of documentaries, I’ve realised the first of them years ago: Euros. The main themes are Europe and Grundnorm, the center of the values system of it. For example, in the capitalist system the Grundnorm is that the private interest in the market build the best of the possible societies. In my opinion this is the wrong way, this system is collapsing. Well, these documentaries are all searching for this center. The first one has been shot, around Europe, during the Occupy movement period. The second one is about the idea that solidarity could become the new Grundnorm. And the third and last one, that we’ll be shoot in 2019, should be the storytelling of the beginning of this new values system.
Well, there’s nothing else to do but go to a cinema on the 25th of April, a Liberation.