Simone Scafidi • Director of Fulci for Fake
“Lucio Fulci created his own story”
by Marta Bałaga
- We talked to Simone Scafidi about Fulci for Fake, in which the Italian director tries to find the real Lucio Fulci
Through Fulci for Fake [+see also:
interview: Simone Scafidi
film profile], presented at the Finnish Night Visions genre festival following its premiere at Venice, Italian director Simone Scafidi tries to find the real Lucio Fulci – the man behind The Beyond, Zombi 2 and the controversial The New York Ripper. We spoke to Scafidi to get the low-down on his movie.
Cineuropa: There is a line in your film, referring to the time “before Fulci became aware of being Fulci”. What’s your relationship with his work and this whole mystique he created around himself?
Simone Scafidi: It started when I was a teenager, in a little town near Milan. I was reading a book about the history of horror movies and came across all of these strange titles: Don’t Torture a Duckling, The New York Ripper and so on. They opened the world up to me – a world I wanted to discover, even though it wasn’t that easy. Fulci was still alive at that time, but he wasn’t working. His last movie was shot in 1991. No one knew him in my town. I was dreaming of becoming a filmmaker, and somehow, Fulci was only mine. There is this interview on YouTube in which he said that before becoming a director, he was a doctor. He never even studied Medicine! He created his own story. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the real one wasn’t enough, which is why my film couldn’t be a conventional biopic, with the director pretending to know everything. I wanted to focus on his passions: movies, women and horses. Some say that making movies is an addiction; Fulci had several.
You seem to be very clear-eyed about his shortcomings, even quoting him when he said that misogyny had to be a part of his life.
At that time, he was being accused of making anti-women movies and wanted to say something politically incorrect. They are victims, but they are also heroines – think about Catriona MacColl in The City of the Living Dead. This film is a story of a man: a man, not just a man of cinema. He made around 60 movies, but my focus was on the ones he made between 1979 and 1982. I think that’s where you find the essence of Lucio Fulci and the way in which he looked at the world. He made them after his wife had committed suicide, after his second wife had left him, after his daughter Camilla had had that terrible accident. In the horror genre, he found a way to face his inner sorrows. He was able to live his life to the fullest, but there was this demon inside, and you can see it in these films. All of the books written about him, except for the first one, often portray him in a grotesque way. He reached some desperate points in his life, but to put it simply: he made terrible films because something terrible happened to him as well.
It seems like a typical “talking heads” documentary – except for the fact that the guy listening to the stories, apart from you, is the actor who plays him as well. It’s almost as if Fulci himself were listening, too.
Antonella Fulci told me it was strange to talk to Nicola Nocella. She felt as if she were talking to her father! I think it’s a fiction film, really. It’s just sold as a documentary because it’s easier [laughs]. Before shooting, I talked to everyone, and I had a plan, unlike on my previous film, Zanetti Story [+see also:
film profile] [about footballer Javier Zanetti], where I interviewed 30 or so people and just let them talk – it was impossible to edit. I wanted people who have never talked about Fulci before, like Camilla Fulci – that was her only interview. She passed away three months after we finished the shoot. Or Michele Romagnoli, who wrote the first book about his work. My love for Fulci started not by watching his films, but by reading about them, which is why we didn’t use any clips. It was because of the rights, too, but you can find them on your own. I preferred to include some unseen photos from the set or his home movies.
You cover it all – from dark personal stories, like the suicide of his wife, to his set designer complaining that he never knew how much blood he should bring to the set. Do you think you finally figured him out?
Fulci is hidden in there somewhere. So is his daughter Camilla. In my film, she is a tragic figure, a woman who has no future. Her decline started after her father’s death, and I didn’t understand her at all – she remained a mystery, even though she makes jokes in her interview. I’m hoping that we will show everybody that the daughter of Lucio Fulci was asking for help.
I guess it’s up to the audience to figure out which of these tales are true. Antonella Fulci said that when actor Paolo Malco told the story about Fulci and the Caribbean model he wanted, and then didn’t want to marry, she went: “That’s it. That’s my father.” There’s another bit when his DoP, Sergio Salvati, says that Fulci’s career would have been much better if he had talked less. His cinema changed along with his life – all the tragedies, departures and new love affairs. He left behind so many films. And so many Lucio Fulcis.
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