seen in just a kiss, Word War Z and of course in The traitorthe Italian actor Pierfrancesco Favino illuminates with his charisma the excellent Nostalgiathe story of a man haunted by his past, back in his hometown, Naples, plagued by the mafia.
How come you speak French so well?
I pretend, I imitate you (laughter). I learned English at school but I took French lessons in Rome because I really like languages. We speak as we think, it is deeply identity, the language builds us. There is in the structure of the language, a mentality, a way of seeing life. French is elegant and you see, when I speak your language, I don’t move my hands frantically like Italians usually do. For NostalgiaI learned Arabic.
Who is Felice, your character in Nostalgia ?
He returns after 40 years spent abroad, he has this Arabic accent, he has lost his identity, and he finds his roots, his mother tongue.
Is it difficult to embody the face of nostalgia?
Not too ! And Felice does not return to Naples because he is nostalgic, but to see his mother again. And the past comes back to the surface. What was great was that I had little dialogue, everything had to pass through my eyes. Some actors want to have as much text as possible, and me too, when I started out, I wanted as many lines as possible, but there, it was great to embody a body in space and I worked a lot on that. .
“THE MAFIA RESPECTS TWO THINGS: CRIMINAL CODES AND RELIGION”
Where did you shoot?
In Naples, in the Sanità district, plagued by the mafia. It was like Dante’s Inferno. We had no problem filming, except one evening a shadow passed behind me and whispered, probably because of my role in the film The traitor“ You are not afraid to be there… “, before fainting. From that moment on, the neighborhood priest, who is mentioned in the film, stayed by my side. Because the mafia respects two things: criminal codes and religion.
Have you worked with non-professionals?
We were five actors and all the others are locals. It was like shooting a documentary. More than a film, it was a human experience.
Are you Neapolitan?
I was born in Rome, I am Roman, my parents come from Puglia. I have been passionate about drama since my childhood, I wanted to act, tell stories, escape my life through fantasy. When I decided to become an actor after my studies, nobody agreed in my family. But hey, I’ve been working in this business for 32 years and I still like it. So I was right. Theater is my life, it’s my home. But it’s been four years since I’ve been on stage, the last time was for a play by Bernard-Marie Koltès, The Night just before the forests. I directed a theater and I even have a theater school in Florence. Because to make cinema, you have to make theater.
“I TURNED IN A ZOMBIE MOVIE”
You have a great filmography…
(He pretends to lament) I’m old…
But among all these films, there is of course a monument, The traitor.
It is Marco Bellocchio the monument. He is 82 years old and he is one of our youngest Italian directors. His way of seeing life, his job, his curiosity, all of that is a lesson. On the set, even if I wasn’t acting, I came to watch him work. It was an extraordinary meeting, and a brilliant role which brought me several rewards.
Do prices matter?
Why not, it’s fun. But above all, it can make people want to go see the film. In my filmo, I believe that three or four films will remain.
Romano Criminale (Michele Placido, 2005), which changed the course of my career, The traitorsure, The Ultimo Bacio (just a kissGabriele Muccino 2001), Rush, an important American film for me. But I don’t make films to leave a trace, you know, I have fun.
You had fun on World War Z?
Oh yes, so much! I was hired for reshoots. The original ending, shot in Russia, was a problem so they redid everything, when the film was already edited. They wanted an Italian actor for a French character called Xavier, already there was confusion (he’s fed up, NDR). We shot in Sandwich, England, in an old abandoned factory. I see Brad Pitt in this giant set, I approach to introduce myself, he turns around but it wasn’t him, but his understudy! When Brad entered the scene, I had no more apprehension because I had already spoken to him (laughs.) But Brad is a very generous guy, very nice. For this film, I didn’t have a script, I was given the pages I had to learn every morning, I had absolutely no idea what it was about. I was trying to interview the screenwriter to get info… But it was funny and now I can say that I shot in a zombie movies.
Nostalgia by Mario Martone
In theaters January 4, 202
By Marc Godin