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PRODUCTION Italy

James Ivory reflects on film in Dance Again With Me Heywood!

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- Academy award-winning America director plays narrator in Michele Diomà’s latest work, which was shot in New York and is now in post-production

James Ivory reflects on film in Dance Again With Me Heywood!
A still from Dance Again With Me Heywood!

James Ivory, who in 2018 and at the grand age of 89 won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay with Call Me By Your Name [+see also:
film review
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Q&A: Luca Guadagnino
film profile
]
, will feature among the cast of Dance Again With Me Heywood! by Michele Diomà, a work currently in post-production. In this fairy tale of sorts which is shot in English and set in modern-day Manhattan, Ivory will play the role of narrator, shoring up the two young protagonists, Giorgio Arcelli Fontana and Ottavia Orticello.

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Dance Again With Me Heywood! unfolds along two intersecting narrative lines: one is purely fictional, where we follow the surreal and existential life of the young Heywood who lives on a roof in New York; the other is that of a documentary, where James Ivory appears as himself and reflects on what Film has been up to now and what it could become in the future. Within the picture itself, which also includes animation, there is a continual play on film language as the director moves from one cinematographic technique to the next, accompanying the two lead actors - Heywood and the woman, with their fictional "Moons Butterfly Syndrome" – as they embark on their metaphysical journey.

In an exclusive interview with Cineuropa, the director revealed a significant discovery made while shooting the film, relating to a work exhibited in the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). “When I visited the museum, one artwork in particular really took me by surprise: “La Bohémienne endormie” by the French artist Henri Rousseau, which he painted in 1897. There was one particular detail which attracted my attention, namely the moon which appeared over the gypsy’s shoulder. It was the same moon I’d seen a thousand times in George Méliès’ 1902 film, Le Voyage dans la Lune! Both have an ironic and surreal humanity to them”. According to Michele Diomà – who, back in 2015, dedicated his documentary Born in the U.S.E (Born in the United States of Europe),produced by Renzo Rossellini,to the advent of film –, it could be argued that Méliès was inspired by Rousseau’s painted moon, “thus establishing the first bridge between painting and cinematography, at a point in time when painting alone was considered to be an art, while film, as we know, was believed to be an invention which would only entertain uneducated audiences for a mere few years. This is a discovery which gives us even greater reason to attribute equal amounts of cultural dignity to film and to painting”. 

Produced by the Italian firm New York Neorealism Factory, a company founded by the director, Dance Again With Me Heywood! features cinematography by Sasha Smolina and editing by Matteo Belletta, while the musical score comes courtesy of Sergio Fiorentino.

(Translated from Italian)

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