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VISIONS DU RÉEL 2022 Grand Angle

Gianluca Matarrese and Mattia Colombo • Directors of Il posto – A Steady Job

“I like to dive into a story and a topic without knowing from the beginning where it will lead me”

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- The healthcare system in Italy has certainly not improved during the pandemic, as is evident from this documentary

Gianluca Matarrese and Mattia Colombo • Directors of Il posto – A Steady Job

The Grand Angle section of Visions du Réel has hosted the premiere of the documentary Il posto – A Steady Job [+see also:
film review
interview: Gianluca Matarrese and Matt…
film profile
]
by Italian filmmakers Gianluca Matarrese and Mattia Colombo, which shows how the working class from the south are massively dependent on the northern regions of the country. We talked to the directors about how COVID-19 changed the course of their film and how they approached this very specific topic in order to find a more universal message.

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Cineuropa: Where did your interest in the topic stem from?
Mattia Colombo:
I read an article in 2017 about this travel service. I thought there was cinematographic potential there and talked to Gianluca about it. We made the first trip together, spending lots of time with the guys. We still had to find an approach to the topic, though. We knew we didn't want to make a film that would make a scandal out of the healthcare system. Rather, it is a reflection on work and what it means in our society, and what it means for us to live in this world. In Italian, il posto has many meanings: it means “the job”, but also “to find your place” or “to be okay”.

Gianluca Matarrese: I like to dive into a story and a topic without knowing from the beginning where it will lead me. When I heard about this, I realised it was a story that talks about us, about our generation, people who define themselves through work. I wanted to explore what work is today and how the world of start-ups and freelancers moulds us. Where does the dream of getting a steady job, preferably working for the state, come from?

How did you get to know the main protagonist?
MC:
Raffaele was mentioned in the article I read. We met him with the help of a friend who lives in the same city as he does. We realised in the process how important he was as a character. He is both things at once: very close to the medical staff and, at the same time, an entrepreneur.

Did you also talk to representatives of the state or the clinics and hospitals?
GM:
Finding our method for the film was very important. We knew it wouldn't be an investigative movie. We are not journalists; reporters were already present on the trips and covering the topic. Besides the fact that we realised it would be very complicated and difficult to get any useful information from the official side, we wanted to concentrate on the people we had in front of us. We wanted to tell their story. It was a very nice experience, as most of the guys were proud to share their experiences with us.

MC: We thought about how we could also give a voice to the politicians, but in the end, it seemed more appropriate to focus on the people searching for a job and their reality, and not give a platform to the same old hollow promises that we hear from the state and politicians.

You started your project before COVID-19. What happened then?
MC:
When it came, it was a dicey moment. We were afraid we would not be able to continue with the project; we had only shot one trip. It wasn't guaranteed that the concorsi, the state exams, would even continue. For a short time, there was a rumour that they would do them online, or even change the whole recruitment process. But then, after various lockdowns, everything started anew, and we went on with the film.

GM: COVID-19 threatened the transport service company with bankruptcy. At the same time, this professional category became much more visible and the conditions became even worse. People were given shorter contracts and were much more at risk for an equal, mediocre amount of pay. Travelling was much more complicated – when it was even allowed, that is.

Was it difficult to get the people to share their experiences with you?
MC: It was important to make them trust us. We contacted them before the journey started, informing them that we would be travelling with them on the buses. On the way to the exams, each person reacted differently. Some wanted to rest, some to keep studying, for example. So it was important that we could feel what was possible for us.

GM: We had to search for the best characters, of course, in a relatively short period of time, since we only had the trips back and forth to work with. It was important to have authentic moments and also avoid a journalistic point of view.

How many trips did you make in total?
MC:
We made five trips. But the idea during the cutting process was to condense them into one, sole trip.

Could you tell us something about the music you used?
GM:
The composer who came up with the score was inspired by the traditional tammurriata music from the South of Italy. It was important for me that the sound would follow the beat of the protagonists’ words.

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