The debut of Ginevra
Piazza Grande - If Only
It maybe your first work, but it is one that already shows a high level of maturity. How useful were all the cinematographic productions you did before you made the big leap forward in directing this first feature?
My experience as a producer and distributor has been very useful, especially in the more managerial aspect of directing. The fact that I was often on the set, that I observed and watched, helped me a great deal to have clear priorities, the sense of timing and the flexibility necessary to remain "sane".
The narration follows the emotional curves of children who find themselves having to live with the trauma of their parents' divorce. What kind of legacy involves such a profound shift from a "sooner" to a "later" at the age at which a person's development takes place?
I'd say a solid and fundamental legacy. The film explores this, those small moments, emotions and desires of these young people who each find a way to deal with their pain and their lives. The story follows, step by step, the intimate movements of children, through which we look at the world of adults, revealing their view and their inner voices.
How did the choice of actors come about when you were planning the film? Did you have Alba Rohrwacher, Riccardo Scamarcio and the others in mind right from the start, or was it the result of a process of gradual choices?
First, we cast the children, who are the focus of the film. We needed to find bilingual children with a vague resemblance to each other. I also wanted children who didn't have any set or theater experience, who were as natural as possible. After finding Milo, Ettore and Oro, we dedicated ourselves, along with Barbara Melega, to the search for adults. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to work with Alba, and that she would give Benedetta lightness and depth at the same time. I have admired Riccardo's work for years, but after seeing him in Euforia by Valeria Golino, I fell in love with his his kindness and sensitivity and I offered him the role of Carlo. I'm glad he accepted, because he brought great honesty and vitality to the film and the character.
How did Alba and Riccardo change the characters, making them their own?
They were both extremely generous and cooperative with me and the children. It was really wonderful to be able to work with two such talented actors and to see the characters come to life with them was a tremendous thrill. Both have given so much reality and depth to the characters.
Tonight's screening in the Piazza Grande is not only the opening film of the 72nd edition of the Festival, but the first film that marks the adventure of the Festival's new Artistic Director, Lili Hinstin. Is it a sign of feminine quality?
I am extremely happy to be able to open the Locarno Festival in Lili Hinstin's first year, a woman of my generation and one whom I admire. It gives me hope that things are changing, and that women are finding a place in the world of cinema. There is still a lot to do, groups like Swat in Switzerland and 50/50 in France and Dissenso Comune and Women in film in Italy are changing things and I'm sure there will be more and more room for female voices.Lorenzo Buccella