Matteo Garrone • Director
“My dark and cartoon-like fairytale”
by Camillo De Marco
- Following Gomorra, Matteo Garrone has chosen a small story: that of a man who is chasing the dream of TV success
"I don't think it's representative of the whole country", Matteo Garrone says of his film, Reality [+see also:
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile], in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival (and in Italian cinemas on September 28). It's a film "about an ordinary man, because he wants what everyone wants. He is a modern Pinocchio, naive, who is chasing the dream of easy success on TV, the new Eldorado which bring heaven on earth, a new Funland". A small film to "overcome the impasse following Gomorra, to get rid of the performance anxiety".
Why did you choose to shoot this particular story, when Big Brother is in decline?
"After Gomorra [+see also:
interview: Domenico Procacci
interview: Jean Labadie
interview: Matteo Garrone
film profile], I wanted to make a different film, change register. For years I've been looking an equally powerful story, but I couldn't find one. That's why I decided to do a comedy mixed with tragedy. Reality was born from a real, simple, story, which we adapted to reflect modern day life. And so I embarked on this adventure together with my colleagues, light-heartedly, to rediscover the pleasure of making films, to enjoy myself".
The film portrays a huge cultural void.
"The family is the trigger, the contagion starts there, not from the protagonist, but from the social context in which he lives, a contagion that is not only linked to that environment but which spans across the whole of society. I've been told that some journalists didn't like the film because the level of accusation did not meet expectations. I can say that the aim was not that of making a film or against a certain type of television. We wanted to make a modern fairytale, but also to explore a character who loses his identity".
It's a chilling fairytale.
"When I tell a story, I don't always understand its dramatic power. I notice it after the film is done. But I was thinking of a sort of Pixar film with dramatic implications".
The main character's performance was considered to be excellent.
"The film's central and most powerful aspect is Aniello Arena's performance. He gave the character a certain naivety and innocence, which also stems from the fact that he discovered a world he didn't know about. You read his amazement in his eyes. He gave an extraordinary performance of an extremely complicated role which operates on many different levels".
Finally we have the Neapolitan setting.
"Naples is a city full of contradictions, which preserves more ancient settings, almost reminiscent of Eduardo di Philippo's Naples, along with artificial settings".
Apart from Eduardo De Filippo, what other sources of inspiration did you find for the film?
"De Sica, Fellini, Visconti... The White Sheik, Bellissima, Marriage Italian Style, The Gold of Naples".
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