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Giuseppe Tornatore • Director

"Sicily is cinema"


- After triumphing at the David di Donatello awards, Giuseppe Tornatore's The Best Offer will come out in a variety of different European countries

Giuseppe Tornatore • Director

It has been a good year for Giuseppe Tornatore, thanks to The Best Offer [+see also:
film review
film profile
. After triumphing in the latest edition of the David di Donatello awards (read the news story) and its success at the Italian box office (1.4 million spectators), the film will be coming out in a number of European countries. In this latest piece of work, the director resumed his collaboration with partner in crime and friend Ennio Morricone, who composed music for Cinema Paradiso. Last weekend, he was the recipient of the Cariddi career award at the cinema festival in Taormina, which takes place on his original land of Sicily.

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Cineuropa: After many years behind the camera, how do you perceive Italian cinema today?
Giuseppe Tornatore: The situation is bad, but I don’t believe it is just an Italian problem. It is also like this for the other film industries across Europe. Beyond surviving a crisis, we are trying to not lose our conception of cinema because in Europe we see films as works of art, not like a product or an object on the market. I am, despite all of this, optimistic and think we can make it.

Your past as a filmmaker is very varied, you never returned to typically Italian stories after the great success of Cinema Paradiso. Your latest film, The Best Offer, is set in central Europe and has an Anglo-Saxon cast headed by Geoffrey Rush, Donald Sutherland and Jim Sturgess. What attracted you to this story?
For me, the importance is always the story. I felt this was what I needed in order to tell the story of a man who is incapable of loving, incapable even of touching the object he so desires with his hands. But then certain things happen to change the way he is forever. He becomes a person sympathetic to the spectator, something which is not the case at the beginning of the film.

It must be doubly rewarding to receive recognition for your cinema journey in the place in which you were born. How do you feel Sicily has been represented in cinema?
As writer Leonardo Sciascia said, Sicily is cinema. There is no other region in the world this small but with this much cinema. Then it almost always becomes a character in the story because the camera falls in love with her. 

You have been trying to bring Leningrad, Sergio Leone’s latest screenplay, to the big screen for quite a long time. It is an ambitious project with a higher than average budget and rumours have it, an international cast. A couple of months ago, you declared to the Italian press that you were very close to deciding whether or not to go ahead with this project.
Even if I said I would reach a conclusion, I still cannot confirm whether or not it will come true. It remains open but is not yet ready for filming. The positive thing is that I continue trying to bring the it forward. I have not given up yet.

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