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The Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) quickly became the international film community’s “must-attend” summer event after its opening in July 2010. After 4 intensely exciting years, the festival took a break in 2014 for a complete makeover and now is back with full force to celebrate year 5 from October 7th-11th, 2015.
The festival offers a pleasurable and inviting atmosphere for filmmakers, press and film lovers. It serves to not only develop an understanding and appreciation of the art of cinema and filmmaking, but also to inspire, educate and promote emerging local and regional filmmaking talent. This in turn has helped position Aruba as a center of art, culture and creativity, and as a viable destination for international film and commercial productions.
The AIFF was founded in 2010 by film producers Jonathan Vieira and Giuseppe Cioccarelli, with artistic direction by 30-year industry veteran Claudio Masenza. Previous editions of the festival have showcased a diverse array of critically acclaimed fiction films and documentaries from every corner of the globe, and have attracted such notable industry names as:
Hollywood leading man Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, An Officer and a Gentleman)
Nessuno Mi Puo Giudicare, interview with Paola Cortellesi
Interview with actresses Paola Cortellesi and Lucia Ocone from the film NESSUNO MI PUO GIUDICARE (2011) by director Massimiliano Bruno. While in Aruba, their film had its international premier and we held an interview on the 5th floor of the Hyatt hotel during the 2nd annual Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF).
ME: Can you first speak a little about your film, NESSUNO MI PUO GIUDICARE (2011)?
PAOLA: This is a comedy but it’s also quite a serious subject too about a desperate woman who must survive for her son.
ME: And can you tell us about your characters you both play?
PAOLA: I play Alice, a particular woman, very aggressive, a character I worked on her progression, both social and behavioral. She’s outside of her original neighborhood so she needs to change into a new life with new friends, people who are very strange and different from her. So, with all these new people there is Tiziana, played by Lucia Ocone, an exaggerated kind of person. She and the others around Alice become her friends and sustain her.
ME: The film follows a traditional narrative similar to Hollywood comedies and yet it’s a completely original story with nuances to old versus modern Roman life and the changes in the lifestyle there. Can you speak a little about this?
PAOLA: In this story the writer/director Massimiliano Bruno used the comedy style to talk about the difficult plot and so in this way he makes the story lighter and more sensitive to people. I believe this is the best way to talk about our capital, Rome. It is a very big and complex city and there are a lot of immigrants and there is a problem with the integration of immigrants so that’s the best way to talk about a problem like this.
ME: You play a very complicated character and yet you pull it off effortlessly. Can you speak about how difficult this role was for you to play?
PAOLA: It was not difficult because I’ve been working with Massi, this director. I used to work with him on stage since we were twenty, a couple of years ago [laugh], so it was not complicated for me to play this role because I know this character, I know these people, I know this type of woman. I know different cultures in the same city so I simply had to act.
ME: I have to ask about the politics of the film. Right now Italy is being looked at critically in light of Berlusconi and the media he puts out which is male dominated and makes women look weak and subjugated. Yet it feels in your film that the women are strong and use their weakness in the society to their advantage to come out on top. What do you feel about this and about what the film is saying about contemporary Italian culture?
PAOLA: I don’t know anything about the future. I would like to but I can’t, unfortunately. Anyway, I think this is not a political story. It talks about our social environment and talks about different things. When this movie was released we were talking about a lot of scandals but we didn’t make the film to talk about political things so it is not a political movie. The character Alice is maybe sometimes a model of several teenager subcultures but this is not fair, this is not right. I cannot say that this is the right way in Italy to define Italian people or Italian teenagers. This story talks about a woman who has to do a kind of job she didn’t like. Of course she didn’t like it. It’s like going to hell to keep her son with her. Other people asked us this question, your question to us about referring to VIDEOCRACY (2009) and other scandals but I can affirm to you that Italian women are very far from this. And many of the women that work on the TV are not Italian. Even if a lot of TV models don’t fit the passion for this work or job but they suggest that the good way, the good life, is through the short road but it’s not the right road. This is not the right way.
ME: Can you tell us how your film has been received in Italy? And what do you hope the audience will take away from watching the film?
PAOLA: We hope the audience will enjoy the film as in Italy because we have been a big surprise in Italy. It was a little film because it was the first film of the director. It became a big movie and an unexpected success. So, we hope the same from the other countries.
ME: There are some great Italian films that came out this year, yours (Nessuno Mi Puo Giudicare) and '18 Years Later' (2010), the director of whom (Eduardo Leo) has a cameo in your film.
PAOLA: I saw '18 Years Later'. I was a great film. Sadly, few people saw this film. In Italy independent film producers need to have a lot of courage because there are so many obstacles to get the people to see these kind of movies. In particular, '18 Years Later' received more success outside of Italy than within Italy. In Italy, we saw many people laugh and love our film but this type of movie there are less obstacles to sell it in our film. The main obstacles are production/distribution obstacles that can be difficult.
ME: And last question. How do you feel to have your film screened here in Aruba during the 2nd annual Aruba International Film Festival?
PAOLA: It was exciting. We feared that nobody would understand the film because of the local Roman dialect of the film so we worried about this translation. But nothing of this happened. So, when you hear people laugh at something you do on screen it’s beautiful. We were really excited and very emotional.
ME: Non e male, eh?
(below us was the bright blue Caribbean water lapping against the shores of Aruba white sand beaches)
PAOLA: No, this place. It’s not bad! No! [laughs] The sea, the sun, relaxing.
ME: Well, congratulations on your beautiful film! I loved it and I watched it with a director friend of mine who usually walks out of a film after ten minutes if he doesn’t absolutely love it and he stayed the whole time during yours… So, people love your film and you both were fantastic! Complimenti!
Interview by Vanessa McMahon
read my red carpet interview with Paola here:
photos by Vanessa McMahon
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