HomeEntertainment & MusicMovieSusanna Nicchiarelli • Director of Chiara

Susanna Nicchiarelli • Director of Chiara

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“There was one thing about this medieval story, with its fears, diseases and isolation, that appeared to talk to the modern-day”

– VENICE 2022: The Italian director chatted with us about her casting selections, her work on the vernacular throughout the movie and her sources of inspiration

We met with Susanna Nicchiarelli at Venice’s Tennis Membership, on the Lido. Her newest movie Chiara [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Susanna Nicchiarelli
film profile
]
is competing within the Venice Movie Pageant and recounts the lifetime of Saint Clare, performed right here by Margherita Mazzucco.

Cineuropa: What made you determine to inform the story of Saint Clare at this cut-off date?
Susanna Nicchiarelli: I really got here throughout Chiara [Clare] on 7 March 2020. They have been about to close down the nation they usually’d already closed the faculties. I took my youngsters to see Giotto’s frescoes in Assisi. We have been on their lonesome, there was a wierd ambiance… I’ve all the time been fascinated by Saint Francis, I’m Umbrian myself. His message is so radical, and the very fact he selected poverty is so hanging, even in the event you’re not a believer. I knew that Clare had been by his aspect, however in movies about Saint Francis, just like the one by Franco Zeffirelli [Brother Sun, Sister Moon], Clare doesn’t seem fairly often. You see her extra in Liliana Cavani’s film [Francesco]. It intrigued me, and I purchased a few books about her. That’s how I found that there’s a studying of the saint by this historian known as Chiara Frugoni, who spent years engaged on a historiography that’s fully totally different from the official model of her life. […] Clara wished to observe Francis’ instance. After I realised there was this discrepancy between the official historiography and the true story, I used to be intrigued. This era coincided with the primary lockdown; we have been locked up at residence. There was one thing about this medieval story, with its fears, diseases and isolation, that appeared to talk to the modern-day. I used to be struck by the urgency and radicality of the story, and her choice to stay communally, alongside the ailing, in a particularly harmful world. I realised that medieval instances have been way more just like our personal – particularly at that individual second in time – than we would consider. A rethinking of the idea of group, life as a part of a gaggle, was additionally on the coronary heart of their concepts, in addition to a radical critique of society. I felt that these themes have been carefully linked to in the present day’s world.

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Which performing qualities did you hunt down for the roles of Francis and Clare?
To start with, in spite of everything my studying, I instantly determined to concentrate to age. In so many movies about Saint Francis, he’s all the time an grownup, very like Clare who’s all the time thirty-five… However they have been youngsters. She was 18 years outdated; he was twelve years older than her, however he was nonetheless basically a boy. I assumed it was essential to search out actors who have been the identical age because the characters whose story we have been telling. It could make it extra reasonable. I continued alongside these strains, and likewise added a stage of modernity to Andrea [Carpenzano] and Margherita’s [Mazzucco] performing strategy. I assumed it might carry us far nearer to the story in query.

By way of naturalness, how did you’re employed on the vernacular facet of the language, provided that it appears to come back so naturally to your actors? First-time actors might simply have sounded ridiculous…
That’s how the vernacular works. Not solely has Francis all the time been depicted with totally different ages, he’s additionally all the time been dubbed and, for one cause or one other, has all the time spoken customary Italian or dubbed Italian, a language from the hyperuranion. I went for the vernacular to carry them nearer to us. At the moment, Italian didn’t exist, dialects did. Dialect is a means – I’m pondering, for instance, concerning the Franciscan brothers in The Hawks and the Sparrows – of conveying that fragility, that reality. That’s why I used the vernacular like a dialect, like a humorous language which is endearing, childlike, a means for them to not communicate like printed books… [..] The youngsters did very well, they discovered this language amongst themselves, as if it have been a code. They weren’t restricted, they have been free to play with phrases.

You talked about Giotto firstly of our dialog. What affect did medieval iconography have on Crystel Fournier’s pictures?
We undoubtedly labored on photographs from the period, for Clare’s fantasies too. Work and frescoes have been used as reference factors. Directness was undoubtedly a part of the movie’s language. Crystel’s use of sunshine could be very easy and I’m happy about that. We didn’t use a lot gentle, however we labored constantly within the movie’s mise en scene. It’s a darkish medieval setting, lit by candlelight, however we managed to retrieve the colors we would have liked by the movie’s set design and costumes, which hark again to the iconography of the time. The movie’s format [cinemascope] was one other essential choice. It pressured us to inform Clare’s story with individuals round her, and nature … We have been all the time in search of the metaphysical whereas taking pictures church buildings and fields, [and to convey] man’s smaller aspect, in addition to the choral and communal dimension.

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(Translated from Italian)



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