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Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo • Directors

"We wanted to learn from the best"

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- The D'Innocenzo brothers chat to us about their debut film Boys Cry and their new project, which has just been selected by the Sundance Institute Lab

Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo • Directors

The Italian twins Damiano and Fabio D'Innocenzo – the hottest new directorial duo – will be landing in cinemas soon (on 7 June with Adler) with their debut film, Boys Cry [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo
film profile
]
, screened in world premiere at the most recent edition of Berlin Film Festival and now nominated for three Nastri d'argento, including Best Debut Director.

Cineuropa: From its debut in Berlin to its Nastri d'argento nominations announced yesterday. What have you been up to these past three months?
Damiano D'Innocenzo: We've been doing promotional tours and writing our new film. We just learnt today that our project has been selected by the Sundance Institute for a workshop that brings together some of the most interesting content creators in Europe once a year. We've written the screenplay and we will start shooting the film in January. It will be a vintage female western starring six women and five men, set in the 1800s, a completely different film from Boys Cry. The comparisons that have been made for our debut film were wonderful, but we don’t want to be seen as Pasolinian directors. Pepito Produzioni and Rai Cinema will continue to support us financially. We’ll have a much bigger budget and different dialects and the film will also star both familiar and unfamiliar faces.

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You never attended film school, before this feature film you had never even filmed a short film. Boys Cry, however, is anything but an amateur film. How did you manage that?
Fabio D'Innocenzo:
We've seen many films, we've had many teachers. We’ve obviously been through different phases, but chronologically I would say: Gus Van Sunt, Takeshi Kitano, John Cassavetes, John Ford, Billy Wilder and Chantal Akerman. In terms of Italian directors, we’ve been influenced by Matteo Garrone, Ermanno Olmi, Pietro Germi, and Nico D'Alessandria. But I don’t think these influences are particularly obvious in our film. Our influences on set were more literary or artistic-figurative in nature, like paintings or photography, such as Nan Goldin, Francis Bacon...
D. D'I: And we were also surrounded by a great crew. Often with a debut film, producers tell you it’s better to work with people who learn with you. But we wanted to learn from the best. Photography, editing, set design, costumes... we chose our favourites. How did we convince them? We had them read the script, and we embrace them, as you do with someone you love.

Your film is part of a very prolific vein of current Italian cinema, that of so-called neo-neorealism, which focuses on suburban stories of criminality. But, compared to other directors, you don't really make a spectacle of crime, you see little blood. Why did you make this choice?
D. D'I .: We like the idea of using ​​restraint as a dramaturgical medium. Like the chorus in Greek theatre, it's far away, you don't see it, but you know it's there. It creates a lot of suspense and different poetics. If you have a story that works, it's important not to complicate it, you don’t need to show off. The story chooses its own ingredients. We knew we were being compared to other films of this neo-neorealist – and I would even say a bit à la mode – vein. We wrote this film six years ago, then came Don't Be Bad [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and it slowed the production process down a lot, because there was an immediate association. The difference in comparison to other films, perhaps, is that we are extremely rigorous. We come from drawing and photography backgrounds, we already have our own system, despite never having made short films or anything else.

Boys Cry comes out on 7 June in Italy. What are your next steps, including international ones?
D. D'I .: The Match Factory is handling international sales so we are in very good hands.The film has already been sold in many parts of the world, such as in China, France and the Netherlands. In the next days we'll be in New York (in Open Roads: New Italian Cinema), there are currently negotiations underway in America to remake the film.
F. D'I .: The most striking thing abroad is the actors. People have said that it seems like they're improvising, which is the greatest compliment that can be given to an actor, when everything has already been written down. We think that improvisation is indicative of laziness on the part of the director, because it means delegating the artistic responsibility to the actor. It's a frayed approach, it can be good or bad, but it’s not really our style.

(Translated from Italian)

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