The day before the opening of the Festival, we asked the President of the Jury of the 65th edition some questions. The Italian film-maker, who won the Palme d'or in 2001 for The Son's Room, shares his vision of cinema, both as a spectator and a film-maker, with us.
You said that you hoped to see films that wouldn't give you the impression that you've already seen them 5,000 times? Do you often get bored at the cinema?
No, not at all… If a film is well acted, written and produced, that's rather a good start. What I mean is that, once the 2 hours are over, we tend to forget about it. We expect something else in a festival, films that can surprise the audience, not because they have been produced to do so but because they represent an independent voice.
What was the last film you enjoyed at the cinema?
I saw Steve McQueen's Hunger a lot later than I'd have liked, as it has just been released in Italy, after Shame. I have screened both of them at my cinema in Rome. I was also very surprised by the Taviani brothers' film, Caesar must die, and have decided to distribute it. The film is very modern and has unexpected energy when we think that the two producers are more than 80 years old.
What films or what kind of cinema inspire you as a film-maker?
I still have a connection with the auteur theory of the Sixties, both as a spectator and a film-maker, especially European. The new wave, free cinema, Cinema Novo, Polish cinema, Italian cinema with Bellocchio, Bertolucci, Taviani, Ferreri, Pasolini. These films encouraged us to think about both cinema and society. These film-makers were looking for a new kind of cinema and new kinds of human relations in society. They rejected the cinema and the society which they had inherited.
What is your first cinematographic memory?
I don't remember cartoons. I saw my first film, which was not a cartoon, at the age of 9. It was John Ford's The Horse Soldiers. What I remember the most is the second film I saw: Alfred Hitchcock's The Man who Knew Too Much, especially the scene where the musician clashes his cymbals and we know that a man is going to die.
When did you first want to be a film-maker?
I didn't have a cinematographic childhood like the one Truffaut relates. I started going to the cinema a lot around the age of 15. I would go to the cinema in the afternoon, and play water polo at the swimming pool in the evening. At the end of high school, at the age of 19, I realised that the best way for me to express what I had to say was through cinema. My parents had no connections with that world, as they were both teachers, and it was a bit risky. Film school was only open to those who had a Master's degree, and I didn't want to have to go to university in order to go to film school. It was a paradox because film school should have been an alternative solution to university. This is how I started making Super 8-mm short films. There were already constants in my films, like being in front of the camera as an actor or rather as a person, talking about my world, my environment and doing it all with irony and even self irony, as it was about my environment.
May we ask what you are working on at the moment?
I'm writing a film that I'll be shooting next year. I have also had several proposals as an actor but I have refused for various reasons. I think that this aspect will be more distinct in the future: I am going to act less in my films and more in other people's films.
Interview directed by Béatrice de Mondenard
In a video interview, made during the dinner attended by the Feature Films Jury on Tuesday 15th May, Nanni Moretti talks about his role as President of the Jury: