NICE - New Italian Cinema Events Tributes Valeria Golino
“The economic difficulties and organizational uncertainties faced by any Italian author who produces their film have been greater than ever this year. Of course, this does not simply apply to filmmakers, but also to Festival organizers and to all those involved in promotion in general.” In this way, the non-profit cultural association NICE, New Italian Cinema Events, opens its 2012 festival in the United States, involving recent Italian comedies, although with a bitter taste.
This year, the festival is a tribute to actress Valeria Golino, an artist who contributed to make recent Italian cinema internationally known.
NYU's Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò hosted a screening of one of her latest movies, “Respiro (Breath),” a portrait of the island of Lampedusa, wild and still mostly unknown, and a panoramic on human disorders.
After the screening, Golino talked about her thirty-year long career and her upcoming movie, an adaptation of the book “Vi perdono” (I forgive you), that marks her directorial debut. The topic she chose as a new director is assisted suicide, a theme not so well known as much as euthanasia. “Euthanasia is a universal subject and every country has its own way to deal with it: Italy, for example, has a very controversial way to discuss it because of the Vatican. But assisted suicide is another thing: it is a request of help from the sick person, and it is illegal in Italy, ”Golino stated.
Her debut as a director owes a lot to her experiences as an actress: “Everything I know, I have learned from being an actress for thirty years. It was very hard, but I would do it all over again. Directing was much harder than acting. As a director, you always have to make decisions that could constantly change your movie. I was afraid to make mistakes but it was beautiful, though.”
And, while some actors decide to dedicate their selves to the theatre after a career on the big screen, she prefers not to: “I do think that the ultimate experience for an actor is playing in theaters, but I do not have that passion. Although I appreciate it, I do not like things to be repeated, it's not in my nature, so even if I like to see the process of acting, and also because I don't have a technique as an actress, I don't really have the desire to do theatre.”
Her acting career definitely helped her in the new process of making a movie completely by herself, even when it is about directing other actors “I can tell when actors are getting annoyed or if they are getting better while playing. This 'sense' helped me even in making decisions about how many takes I had to do.”
Valeria Golino's background is very international itself: she born from a German father and a Greek mother. She lived in Los Angeles for ten years, and that gave her the chance to work with great professionals of contemporary cinema, such as Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise and Nicholas Cage. But what really helps in the process of becoming an international actress? “The knowledge of languages helps for sure – she said – but probably the most important thing is curiosity. In this job, a very being always curious is The, with a capital T, attitude to have, it makes you enthusiastic. Both the lack of fear, and a little bit of fear help, at times. My nature led me to always do new things.”
In her career she had the chance to face two different worlds: Hollywood and the Italian movie scene. Obviously there are quite a few differences between them. “Hollywood is more star-driven, while in Europe, the film director counts more. The director is the 'king' and there is a hierarchy to respect, especially in Italy. In the States, as well as in France, there is a solid star system, that is protected, so all the attention is on the movie stars.”