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Closed To The Light
Directed by: Nicola Piovesan
Cast: Samuele Satta,,Cecilia Bossi, Ettore Scarpa,,Savino Genovese
Synopsis: In a moment captured in time, die-hard Italian fascists conduct reprisal executions of civilians in Lombardy during World War II.
What drove you to make a film about this tragic event?
I always wanted to make a film set in the Second World War, which is a period that deeply affected Italian history (and still continues to affect the minds of many). I heard the stories of my grandfather and uncles: how they hid from the fascists, or how they were being shot by their neighbors. And I wanted to describe the drama of that period, but not only from the point of view of the innocent civilians executed, because the drama was also in the eyes of the young men pulling the trigger, forced to do atrocities by their vile commanders.
All the actors are in still motion. What inspired this style?
I liked the idea of different moments frozen in time, like photos or old paintings, where everybody is motionless, and yet communicating strong feelings. I love the cinematography of Barry Lyndon by Stanley Kubrick, for example, which has many moments where you do not understand if the characters are moving or frozen forever in a marvelous painting.
The short is filmed in one take. How many takes did you do to get it right?
We had to do lot of rehearsals to coordinate the movements of every actor and of the camera before the start of shooting. Overall, we’ve got about 3-4 “good” takes and a dozen more with some mistakes (like a wrong camera movement or an actor losing balance). However, I have to admit that I didn’t manage to get the “perfect take” due to limited time (the sun was setting!) and resources (it’s a rather cheap indie film). Fun fact: the take that ended up in the film was the very last one we shot!
It’s an excellent ensemble…how did you assemble the cast?
I researched amateur actors in the area of the shooting, as well as asking friends nearby if they knew some interesting faces. Consider that about one-third of the cast was in front of a camera for the very first time! So, rather than previous filming experiences, what was very important for me was that the actors have a strong face, capable of transmitting deep emotions, as well as blending with each other perfectly to create a harmonic mix.
What do you hope people take away from this film after seeing it?
Like the poem at the end of the film, my wish is that from a tragic past, people can learn and “open their eyes” for a better future. My hope is that they will feel strong emotions, and understand that the events narrated in the film are still happening around the world. And that we all must do whatever is necessary to make these tragedies never happen again.