The Man Who Will Come, which recently won Italy's Best Picture award and premiered during the recent FSLC's Open Roads, and now a small, independent American movie, LAST LETTERS FROM MONTE ROSA directed by Ari Taub (shown just below) and co-written by Nick Day and Caio Ribeiro (who doubled as cinematographer) -- there's plenty left to say. And, boy, it this worth hearing (and seeing). Regarding Mr. Taub's new film, I believe that Sam Fuller would approve mightily.
many & Italy who came to America to film (upstate New York, Mas-
sachusetts and Pennsylvania all stand in for Northern Italy). Even the director's use of slow-motion is judicious; he manages to make that old cliché death seem somehow new -- and horribly unfair.
IndieScreen. You can find dates and screening time here.
First of all, the movie was shot almost entirely here in the U.S., with the actors imported from Europe. The verisimilitude is certainly achieved. Performances are terrific, right down the line. Indoor photography was shot on sets created in studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, hence the entirely appropriate venue in which the film is opening. Most bizarre, I guess, is the fact that here is a piece of American independent cinema that is actually a low-budget WWII combat drama.
We catch director Ari Taub for a 30-minute phone call during which he fills us in with answers to a few on extra questions that the press kit did not address. In the following TrustMovies' question are in boldface, white Taub's answers are in standard type.
Yes. everybody always wants to know about those letters! The satchel of letters does exist. Letters were recovered in Northern Italy maybe 10-14 years ago. A lot of them were rotted and only bits and pieces could be read. We only read a fragment from one letter --
Was that the letter from the German commander to his wife that we hear at the end?
Last Letters from Stalingrad, a wonderful book written by soldiers who perished during the Battle of Stalingrad in Russia. And so, from a single fragment, rather like one bone from a dinosaur, we created the whole piece.
According to the IMDB, you've made other films: shorts and full-length, and a number of these were war films.
Yes, I have made a number war films. Some of my war films, in fact, are earlier versions of this movie. The Fallen tells the story from the American viewpoint. This one is my favorite, though, because it seems unique. I really worked hard to get inside the hearts and minds of how men would act during this time.
After this initial week's run at IndieScreen, where might your film go?
We hope elsewhere around the country, of course, but we don’t have a big war chest for getting the movie out there.
And how long, total, did it take to film?
It took seven years to complete this movies.
It's unbelievable, the amount of time and life that went into this work. Mostly because we did not have the money. There was a time that we couldn't even continue shooting for two years because we had no money.
Your cast really is wonderful. So real. Did they all come from abroad?
No: the guy who played the local gangster (Rossini, shown below), sort of the small town bully, he is a friend of mine (Carmine Raspaolo) who lives right here in Brooklyn. He had wanted to play one of the soldiers, but I had to tell him he just weighed too much. But we could -- and did -- cast him as that gangster.
I’m 44 years old.
Maybe I should say why I originally wanted to even make this movie.
Yes, good idea.
I wanted to tell a story that involved the cooperation between German and Italian men during WWII because I found these people to be so different from each other. I could not imagine how they could get along. And when I researched, I found copious amounts of material that corroborated the fact that they did not get along.
And yet, you make it so they do try to get along.
Yes. Some of my best friends are both German and Italian. So I don’t want people to think that I don't like either group!