Fortunata – an encounter with Sergio Castellitto

Film still of © RR

Acclaimed Italian actor Sergio Castellitto made his debut as a director in 1999 avec Libero Burro. Fortunata is his fifth film, and tells the tale of a young woman determined to pursue her dream of opening a hair salon. Starring Jasmine Trinca and Stefano Accorsi.

What inspired you to begin work on this film?

I wanted to make a film that depicted the outskirts of Rome and the characters that populate it, but containing more than simply the flavour of a painful realism. I looked for energy, the illusion of popular romance without giving up the themes and conflicts those characters live.

Please describe your working method and the atmosphere on set.

The set is a workshop where you have to be able to change your ideas quickly: this is my job on set, to accept the risk that the automatism of the writing or an organised  location, can come up for discussion. In particular, writing is the foundation of the construction of the film and often writing "takes place" during shooting. This is an experience and a lesson I picked up working with Jacques Rivette.

Please share a few words about your actors.

I’ve been an actor all my life, I think I know the nature of the actors well.  Docile actors without being servile… Actors who accept the risk of the ridiculous, who don’t defend themselves. They’re the actors I love to work with. And they’re the actors in my film.

What did you learn during the course of making this film?

What you learn during a film, you understand in the next film.

What sources of artistic inspiration have you drawn from in your work?

Pier Paolo Pasolini described the periphery of Rome like no one else. Films like Mamma Roma or Accattone have been inaccessible obsessions for me.

What are your views on the state of the film industry in your country?

Italian cinema is struggling, the industry is in crisis, but the lifeforce of talent still manages to flow despite all this.