Virzì returns to comedy
by Gabriele Barcaro
16/08/2007 - Tutta la vita davanti (“Your Whole Life Ahead of You”), Paolo Virzì’s return to contemporary comedy after the period film N.: Napoleon & Me [trailer], will kick off with four weeks of shooting at the new Fiera di Roma, where production designer Davide Bassan has reconstructed a call centre similar to many (temp) workplaces.
On the phones trying to sell a miraculous kitchen robot are the young Isabella Ragonese, recently graduated from university with honours, and her roommate Micaela Ramazzotti, under the supervision of Sabrina Ferilli. The head of the centre is Massimo Ghini while Valerio Mastandrea plays a union worker who tries to create a breach in the workplace and elsewhere.
Only Elio Germano is missing for now. He plays a somewhat enthusiastic salesman in the film but is currently on the set of Francesco Patierno’s Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca.
Thirteen years after La bella vita, Virzì – who sees this new film as the ideal continuation of his debut feature – also returns to directing Ghini and Ferilli, for whom this film is special because, she says, “I owe Paolo everything, he was the first person to believe in me, and we also made Ferie d’agosto together”.
Ghini, who recently played Guido Rossa in Guido che sfidò le Brigate Rosse, points out the labour union past of the businessman he plays to emphasise that Virzì “does not separate between the good and the bad. On the contrary…he doesn’t give anyone a break”. Mastandrea, who worked on Napoleon, agrees: “It is a necessary film, for the things it says and how it says them”.
The film will also be a small coming-of-age tale and, above all, assures Virzì, “a ‘commedia all’Italiana’ on the desperate energy of temp workers” and on a modern Candide: the main character (Ragonese). A theatre actress, playwright and writer, in the film she plays a scholar of Heidegger and Hannah Arendt who works at the call centre to support herself.
Cubicle-mate and roommate Ramazzotti (Gianluca Maria Tavarelli’s Non prendere impegni stasera) says her role is that of “a complex, insecure character, an unwed mother always grappling with social workers”.
The Fiera di Roma will be followed by a further eight weeks of shooting in and around the city. The film will be released theatrically in February 2008 by Medusa Film, who is producing it with Virzì’s company Motorino Amaranto, which in 2006 financed 4-4-3 – Il gioco più bello del mondo.
(Translated from Italian)