Györik’s mysterious Valley a hit at Locarno
by Gabriele Barcaro
12/08/2009 - Eraldo Baldini’s “rural gothic” has arrived in Ticino: The Valley by Mihály Györik, presented at the Piazza Grande at Locarno (where, screening “at home” it nearly got a packed house of 8,000 spectators), is based on four stories by the writer – who co-wrote the script with the director and novelists Sandrone Dazieri and Giampiero Rigosi – transposed to the wild and eerie valleys of Italian Switzerland.
The story focuses on young Matteo (Sebastiano Galeppi), sent to visit his grandfather in a remote Ticino town. There, listening to the stories of other children, Matteo – and the audience along with him – discovers the mysteries of the place, the “curse of the carognone” the madness of Grandma Clara and the secrets of the ghost-ridden mill. Besides the child actors, the cast also includes Teco Celio and Andrea Osvart.
“I was introduced to Baldini’s work by Marco Müller, who also wanted to produce the film,” says Györik (who is from Ticino back has Hungarian origins and studied at the Film Academy of Budapest), “but then he was named director of the Venice Film Festival, and the project became more complicated”.
The film, six years in the making, was marked by a difficult shoot – “Eight weeks of rain and fog, I’ve never seen anything like it, but it added to the film’s mystery,” said the director – and a financial adventure led by producer Viviana Queirolo Bertoglio of Downtown Pictures.
“The €3m budget is rather big for a film from Ticino,” says the producer (who worked with Switzerland’s Riforma Film and Hungary’s Focus Film), who adds that “besides the support of the RSI Radiotelevisione Svizzera, we tried from the very beginning to involve private investors, with a venture capital strategy based on production models that are usual for the Anglo-Saxon countries but not for the rest of Europe”.
There was no request from Italian state funds, then, for what is according to Queirolo “a product aimed more at audiences that critics”. As well as “the heart of the child that is in every adult,” adds Györik.
(Translated from Italian)