How do you see your role as a member of the Feature Film Jury for this 2017 season?
I will be watching the films through the eyes of a spectator and a director at the same time. I'm looking for balance between the film and the truth of the film. That truth, for me, comes from the honesty of the story, the desire not to pull the wool over the spectator's eyes. and the desire to restore truth despite the falseness of the cinematographic art. That for me is the great challenge of film.
'The great challenge of cinema is to begin with the false to discover the truth.'
What's the atmosphere like in the Jury?
The relationships within the Jury are fantastic. There's huge mutual respect, and a strong sense of democracy, even though we're all very strong characters. And our President is equally strong: he takes the fate of these films extremely seriously, as well as that of the directors, who demand great attention from the various Juries. I think that Pedro Almodóvar is guiding us in that direction, encouraging us to be responsible and pay attention to the films we are discovering.
What's your impression of the Festival de Cannes?
I can tell you it's much less stressful to be a Jury member, particularly a member of the Feature Film Jury, than to present a film, because you're not exposed in the same way as an individual. You're part of a group, and that suits my personality much better. I get the sense that as a Jury member I understand the glittering, hectic nature of the Festival de Cannes better.
What sort of relationships do you develop with the actors on your shoots, and with Toni Servillo?
I have a very light, playful relationship with the actors on set, and with Toni in particular. We've always been on the same wavelength, no doubt due to our ironic side and our sense of humour. With him I try to create a calm atmosphere on set – not too earnest – and to work with a sense of lightness, avoiding complaints. I try to avoid the whole thing being too heavy, because actors can get stressed if they feel they are trying to make an ambitious film. It's vital in my opinion to ease that pressure.
Do you have any plans to film, Naples, your home town?
I've been thinking about such a film for ages, but I don't think the time is right just yet. Naples is a city that lives in my emotions. I will present it as a city open to the sea and try to capture its huge vitality. Rome is sleepier... people drift along, while Neapolitans are constantly reinventing themselves. Each day, they decide life should surprise them, and that's how I want to show the place.
What's your next project?
It will be a film about Silvio Berlusconi, with Toni Servillo in the title role. Why Berlusconi? Because I'm Italian and I want to make a film about Italians. Berlusconi is the archetypal Italian and through him, I can tell the story of the people as a whole. It will be shot in Rome.