Alfonso Santagata) -- are putting one over on women in general and Italian women in particular. Nope. When looked at from a feminist perspective (and I think this is exactly what Di Gregorio is doing, whether he's aware of it or not. Maybe this ability simply comes as second nature to the man), the women we see are more than able to take very good care of themselves. (Well, they must, given the state of mature, if that's the right word, Italian manhood.)
The Leopard (movie or book) -- but necessity and accomplishment are not quite the same thing.
Here Comes Your Man hits the soundtrack at the finale, you'll probably be sporting a mile-wide grin.
Zeitgeist Films, The Salt of Life (90 minutes) opens in New York City this Friday, March 2 -- at Lincoln Plaza Cinema and IFC Center. Next Friday, March 9, it will open in the Los Angeles area at various Laemmle theaters. Click here to see all the upcoming playdates nationwide (there are a lot of these, and your city is probably among them).
So you co-wrote Gomorrah and then Mid-August Lunch and now its follow-up. Whew! That's like Antonio Albanese playing in Days & Clouds and then Whatsoeverly. (Gianni shakes his head, yes, but doesn't comment.) All right: back to The Salt of Life: I liked your new film even more than your earlier one. It seemed more universal in how it "sticks it" to the male ego.
But sweetly. You seem to be a very sweet man.
It comes to me very naturally -- this sort of compassion for others. It very hard for me to see the ugly side of people.
But how did you come to write Gomorrah? That is one of the ugliest movies I have ever seen!
Remember: Gomorrah I wrote together with five other screenwriters. I never would have been able to write it all, or direct a film like that, for it shows such a dark side of life. When I direct a film, this side of me -- the sweet, accomodating side -- comes out. But I really do have to say that I do like a very socially oriented type of film, a film that is politically engaged.
Well, your films -- both Mid-August Lunch and Salt of Life -- are politically engaged!
Ah -- thank you!
In small ways, maybe, like in Mid August Lunch, we see how Gianni has to accomodate the managing agent of the building, even if this is a little sleazy. And in Salt of Life, the way you and your lawyer friend try to put one over on the women, the way you show us all this is political -- even feminist -- in its way.
(He laughs.) I really wanted to do a feminist film because I think that Italian men are changing, too; they are much less macho than they were in the past. Unlike the film Gomorrah, I have to say when I am doing a comedy, which I am much more inclined toward, I will write and do something political without fully realizing it. But on the other hand, when we were doing Gomorrah, I would time and again come up with a funny line, and everyone would start laughing, then they would write it down for the script and suddenly they'd say, "No, no -- we can't use that." It's my natural inclination toward the comic, and it is also a defense mechanism against suffering.
Right. And this is probably a very good defense mechanism. Did you see Il Divo, and what did you think of it?
Yes, it shows us this, while still leaving the mystery intact. So what's next for you?
The fact of the international success of my first film, and now that my second has been sold here in the US and other countries, this also fills me with a huge sense of responsibility. So I must think very carefully what my next film will be. I don't know whether to continue with this character or not. I am asking your advice. What do you think?
(Hmmmm. This is unusual...) Well, OK: I think you don't want to go the way, for instance, of Roberto Benigni -- who became perhaps too much Robert Benigni. But I think that you, as a performer and writer/director, are not as intrusive a personality as Benigni, so perhaps you can stick with this character. If you continue as you've done so far -- because The Salt of Life is a big expansion of Mid August Lunch -- if you keep expanding in this way, you could go on forever. But don't just give us the same thing.
I think artists often don't know -- at least fully -- what they've done. So much of one's work is instinctual, isn't it?
(We get the high sign that our time is up.) Whoops -- that's it, I guess. But whatever you decide to do next, just give us some more films!