Making cinema is not enough. For Alessandro Pondi a film is born of a relationship between all the arts: from writing, from work with actors, from the choice of sets, from settings (he is a fan of design and architecture), from costumes and music (a central element of his films and that becomes another story).
by Francesca Capaccioli
His cinema is nourished by all these great passions because “no aesthetics feeds on it” and it must be fed by the knowledge that enriches every little detail. His film was released in September “Tutta un’altra vita”, a comedy with illuminating and liberating irony, where, behind the laugh, are hidden obsessions, neuroses, failures, regrets and a certain fragility of typical life of this time, always in continuous evolution.
Your films come from a reflection and a constant observation of reality…
I would say yes… The authors must be careful observers of their time. They must observe society and understand where it’s going. Only in this way they can hope to reach the general public. Fellini said that the best ideas came out on the subway or in the tram to go from Piazza del Popolo to Cinecittà. The vices, the virtues, the joys or the concerns of the people are the true humus of our cinema.
To create a character is more complex than to stage it, you agree?
They are two completely different things and in any case two problems I face in different times. The character is born and I create him while writing. I build around him a real identity card and as I tell the story I outline his transformation. Then, after a careful brainstorming, together with my co-writers, I understand if it can work or if the character needs to feed on further peculiarities. The staging is the litmus test. From there you can see if the character has a life of his own or if he needs further facets. Generally, if a good job of writing has been done, in the staging the character grows and finally materializes him. And when it happens it’s a surprising feeling.
You have trained with the Luciano Vincenzoni, I would say that you have been chosen…
I was simply lucky. I met Luciano in 1999, I was writing a television series for Mediaset and he was my editor, the controller of my work. For me, it was love at first sight. Despite his quirks and his agoraphobia that had kept him from going out of his beautiful apartment in Parioli for years, he was still the genius who had written the masterpieces of Pietro Germi, by Sergio Leone, “La grande guerra” by Monicelli, besides to about sixty films, and I remember I looked at Luciano with eyes full of admiration and respect. As soon as I finished to write the TV series, I continued to attend it for another three years during I learned a lot, especially the art of storytelling.
I have been a screenwriter for 25 years, I created soap operas, several TV series, I wrote for theater and for cinema and now writing is a process that comes quite naturally to me. Instead, directing a movie requires another type of commitment. There is a creative effort as in writing, but also a great physical effort. Between preparation and staging we work ten weeks, day and night, under the sun and with rain. You have to coordinate a work group of 90, 100 people and then you have to establish a deep relationship with the actors who will give life to the characters who until then lived only on paper and inside my head. I believe it is more complex to direct a film, but it’s so stimulating that all the difficulties are alleviated by the pleasure of seeing the elaboration of a work.
How do you feed your creativity?
I read a lot and travel as much as possible. I am a curious person and a good observer. I like to spy on people’s lives and imagine their lives. Sometimes it takes very little, just some details (their way to dress, the gestures, the speech) to start to conceive and to build the character in my head. It’s stimulating. It’s an exercise I’ve been doing since I was a child.
In hindsight, what would you have done, if you were the protagonist of your movie?
In “Tutta un’altra vita” Brignano plays Gianni, a Roman taxi driver, bored and dissatisfied with his life. And when a wealthy couple, leaving for a week for the Maldives, forgets the keys of their marvelous villa in his taxi, he ventures and he takes possession of the villa and of the life of the owners for a whole week.
Although I’m curious and I suffer the fascination with the forbidden, maybe I would have stopped a earlier… let’s say I would have taken a nice dip in the pool.
A list of things worth experiencing for?
I am an incurable romantic, therefore, for me, it’s worth living to love, for friends, to travel, to know, to eat (I am a good fork) and for spring, that is undoubtedly the season I prefer.