Silvia Luzi and Cinema
By Silvia Carlorosi, Ph.D.
Bronx Community College
City University of New York
How did you enter cinema and why?
I am not sure if I have ever officially “entered” cinema, and I do not know if this is my final destination. I like to tell stories, but the medium I use is the one I believe most apt for that moment and that story. There are stories that sit in my photographic archive, other stories that take a written or oral
shape, others that remain only a picture. There are also stories born in the form of a documentary, which is the most beautiful and challenging training ground. In short, certainly cinema is one of my favorite ways to get by in the world, but not the only one (and I do not know if it is the vocation I am best at).
How did the collaboration with Luca Bellino start?
Instinctively. We share the same vision, but we are very different in our methods, which is very stimulating. Furthermore, amongst all the professional figures I have ever met, Luca is the best camera person. He is very emotional and empathic, not purely technical. I could close my eyes when we film, and when I re-open them, I can find myself in front of exactly what I wanted, the frame and light I was looking for.
Do you feel yourself in tune with other Italian female directors? Who?
Not with everyone, obviously. With Alice Rochwacher for example. She has a method, a poetics, and a certain touch that belong to the same orbit as mine. I also feel pretty close to directors who make a cinema very different from mine. I am thinking here of Susanna Nicchiarelli, her Nico and Miss Marx. I like her experimentational cinema, and I feel close to her political approach.
How do you situate yourself with international cinema?
I am very interested in it. Thanks to international cinema festivals, big or small, I have the fortune to watch a lot of films and to discover pieces that I would not encounter in a theater or on any other platform. When I go to a cinema festival, I try to watch everything: documentaries, shorts, VR, audial installations…. Everything is stimulating and enriches me. Everything is an occasion to study. I always bring with me a piece of every new auteur I meet.
What is the underlying thread linking all your cinematographic works?
Rebellion, revolts, turmoil. I never think about that, but in reality, if I have to analyze everything I have done, I believe that the common thread connecting it all is a certain urgency to oppose oneself to the controlling power of any nature: be it a landlord, a political leader, or a father.
Political and social themes are dear to you. How do you see the female position in this contemporary social landscape?
I have honestly had a very clear and focused view of women. Politics and society are one thing; what we, as women, are ready to do is another. I believe this has been crystal clear since the 1920s. So clear that I would rather speak about how society situates itself with respect to women.
Can you tell me a little about the opening scene of Il cratere? Why did you decide to make a reference to literary verismo/realism, rather than to cinematographic neorealism?
To tell you the truth, I see that scene as a mixer. Everything is mixed up with the intention of unfolding the categories and bringing them to life in the film. Sharon seems to indicate a path to follow the road to Verga’s verismo, but then she perfects it in her stumbling French with French realism. She is a character, but she is also herself. In her appearance she is the maximum expression of cinematic neorealism. However, before a mirror, she is herself and her own image. She then talks about complex and theoretical topics, and she does so while dancing, thus breaking the drama. Our intention was to set aside any theoretical reflection on the real and move it to the cinema. In this way we can go beyond a mere division between reality and fiction. We want to play with the thin line that connects and separates them, which for us is quite vital.
The aesthetic cinematographic style you use aims at connecting completely with the viewers. What message are you trying to send to your viewers?
I am not trying to send any message. If I wanted to, I would be continuously and anxiously asking myself if it had arrived, or where I went wrong. The style we choose is the one that we imagine is best to tell the story we have in mind, and it is a style that comes from our writings. We do not adapt it to the actors, nor to our available budget, nor to our troupe. The story is born, and its style is the story itself. In the case of Il cratere, for example, we used all these extreme close-ups to express a physical discomfort, the same sense of oppression plaguing the protagonists of the film. It is challenging for us, every time.
Do you feel like briefly speaking about the projects you are working on these days?
We work because otherwise we suffocate, and for us, either none of these projects is important or each one of them is. We are now focused on something so vital and energetic for us that it is almost scary. It is a beautiful story; we can’t wait to shoot and we hope to have fun, as always.
To cite this interview, please use this reference: Carlorosi, Silvia (2021) "Silvia Luzi and Cinema", Gynocine Project, Barbara Zecchi, ed.