Mazzacurati’s The Passion takes ironic look at filmmaking
by Camillo de Marco
04/09/2010 - Gianni Dubois, played by tragicomic looking Silvio Orlando, is a fifty-something director , a once-promising auteur who hasn’t managed to make a film for the last five years. His producer gets him the job of directing the debut film of a young television star (Cristiana Capotondi), but he is really short of ideas and the actress drops him. Now, due to events, he finds himself forced to direct a handful of amateur actors (Giuseppe Battiston, Corrado Guzzanti) in the sacred Good Friday play in a remote Tuscan village headed by mayor Stefania Sandrelli.
Carlo Mazzacurati returns to the Venice competition for the fifth time with The Passion [trailer], while the Mostra pays homage to the director by screening a restored print of his debut film Italian Night.
“The Passion doesn’t aim to reflect on the job of director, as some of cinema’s great names have done," said Mazzacurati, "it’s a film that looks at the panic, the moment of emptiness when we run out of inspiration". And it does so lightheartedly, using humour to the greatest effect.
For a subject that touches closely on the job of director, there is an irony that emerges like a mirror of the times, and it is imbued with bitterness. "We’ve reached a point – reflected Mazzacurati – where events and their parody are so intermingled that it becomes difficult to come up with ideas that produce a comic effect; sometimes we laugh to avoid crying and sometimes we just cry".
Thanks to his contact with the reality of people in that small village, the director experiences a revival in the end. "The film takes a very secular approach. It overlaps the lives of one poor soul and the Christ of the play. In an age of profound loss of memory, I’ve plunged these desperate and neurotic people into a plot and subject that is the most significant moment of Italian creative and iconographic expression, that is fifteenth and sixteenth-century painting".
(Translated from Italian)