Marco Amenta • Director of Anna
"What interested me was the story of a woman fighting against powers stronger than she is"
- Cineuropa met with Italian director Marco Amenta to talk about his project Anna, produced by Eurofilm and co-produced by Mact Productions, during the Cinemed Meetings
Marco Amenta, the Italian director of fiction features The Sicilian Girl [+see also:
film profile] and Through The Waves as well as the documentaries Magic Island [+see also:
film profile], The Lone Girl and Il fantasma di Corleone, is present at the 42nd Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival where he is pitching for the Development Grant at the Cinemed Meetings (read the news) his new fiction project, Anna, handled by Eurofilm (a Rome-based company headed by the filmmaker together with his sister Simonetta) and co-produced by Mact Productions.
Cineuropa: How did the Anna project begin?
Marco Amenta: It is based on a true story which took place in Sardinia a little while back. It is, in my opinion, a very modern and symbolic story, because according to the ISPRA (Institute for the Protection of the Environment and Sustainability), concrete covers 14 additional hectares of Italian territory every day, which translates to nearly 2m² per second. The main topic of Anna, the preservation of the environment, is a major issue of our era and we all realised it very well during the Covid catastrophe. When industries were partially shut down and there were a lot less cars in towns, we rediscovered nature a little: clean air, silence, etc. Maybe this will lead us to think about it more, as we realise that many people now wish to leave the cities and go live in the countryside. To return to Anna, what interested me, was the story of a woman fighting against powers stronger than she is, a kind of David v. Goliath tale or a retelling of Mody Dick, as she is obsessed by the fight against real estate speculation, against the resort that is being built right behind her, on her land and without her authorisation. But she isn’t a hero, she is a woman both strong and fragile because she is in her fifties, lives alone and is fighting against forces that are stronger than she is. There is also a macho sensitivity that still exists in certain parts of Italy such as Sardinia: some men do not respect the law because they think that since Anna is a lone woman, they can easily win against her. But on the contrary, she will fight to the end with strength and determination, even if her village ostracises her. However, this isn’t a film aiming to deliver a particular message, because the villagers have their own reasons: losing the resort would deprive them of jobs. We return here to this universal dilemma between the development and the safeguarding of the countryside.
What are the main characteristics of this very strong female character?
Anna has a very close relationship with nature, with animals, with the earth and its silences, a wild side which recalls Grazia's Island [+see also:
film profile] and underlines this feeling of being overwhelmed by the concrete. This feeling will push her to throw herself into this Erin Brockovich-like battle. She was also a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband in the past, so the violence that her land now suffers, in particular the removal of trees, and the arrogance of the resort’s promoters who want to build without authorisation, awaken in her and in a way make her relive these bad memories. It is subtle in the film, but the fact that they refuse to recognise that this land is hers, symbolises the violence — including psychological violence — that men sometimes exert on women. This land also has an important signifying role because it isn’t idyllic or picturesque land, it is hard and dry. Moreover, Anna isn’t exactly a normal woman in her local context, because she is very free, for example in her relationships with men, and she is judged for it by the locals. But it is because of this difference that she will not accept this situation and will resist attempts to buy her off. Because for her, her family’s land has much more value than money.
How has the project been received so far?
The story is very local, Italian, but its topic is universal and its international dimension has immediately been noticed. The project has already received the support of Media and has been selected by two international platforms: here at the Cinemed Meetings, and at the Crossroads co-production forum of Thessaloniki. French company Mact Productions is already a co-production partner and the Ile-de-France region also supports the film. Filming will take place in Sardinia of course, a region that is strongly supporting the project and where location scouting is already underway. It’s a landscape that is still wild, which is essential to the film. We will begin with the intimate and with realism, before opening the film up and reaching a point where the film will have an almost epic dimension. Because at the cinema, we have to see something that we cannot see elsewhere: the story needs to reach a higher, surreal level.
(Translated from French)
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