Alaska – Interview with Claudio Cupellini and Elio Germano

Alaska Claudio Cupellini

Note : 3/5 – A story of love, disillusioned by a harsh social reality


Fausto is Italian and lives in Paris. He tries to make ends meet by working as a waiter in a large hotel. It is on a roof of Paris, where he met Nadine, 20 years old, in full photo shoot for underwear. They are alone, vulnerable, and obsessed by a sense of happiness that seems unattainable. It is as well that they recognize themselves in the other. They are going to love, lose, suffer and try to achieve all this happiness impossible.

It is 27 January 2016 that I am made in the studios of Bellissima for this exclusive interview with the director, Claudio Cupellini, and the actor, Elio Germano.

Interview with Claudio Cupellini and Elio Germano


  • That is what inspired you to write this film ?

Claudio: I wanted to write this love story influenced by film and literature are different from what I usually do. For me, it was a return to the sources of cinema, namely the films of François Truffaud, which I’ve always liked and influence, but also the book of Fitzgerald, the great Gatsby, mixed, of course, to the lived. There has been a lot of exchanges around the characters, for a long time.


  • How do you perceive this love story is inseparable from the thematic social finally ?

Claudio: I think the two things go together. There is a deduction that leads to this desire to always have more than we can criticize, although it was human error after all. The idea was to see how the success would lead to changes in the relationship between Fausto and Nadine. That is to say, to seek what was the part of this research of success, and what was the part of a feeling more pure, more crystalline. This is the story of two young people a few misfits, who have nothing, no family, and who is desperately looking for a place to find a harmony. They seek him with sincerity, at least in the case of Fausto who said that if he cannot have the love of Nadine, he can at least carry a form of personal success. It will make it all the way, but soon realize that it looks parallel to something else. Therefore, it really is this search for the “always more” that accompanies the characters, instigated by the choices they make.


  • Have you shot in real prisons ? Is it easy to get these permissions ?

Claudio: We actually shot in real prisons, it has not been easy to obtain this kind of permit. It has been difficult to enter, but sometimes even out of it, who sympathized with many of the people of the prison (laughter). We shot in a prison Italian and the most of the work was a work of design to conform to the image of a French prison.

Elio: Yes, and it is always interesting for an actor to turn in an authentic place like this. I was already familiar with the prison environment, having worked there in Italy, so I knew how it worked.


  • What have been your relations with the prisoners for you to immerse yourself in your role ?

Elio: first, it is necessary to know that the people who are in prisons are caught up in a bubble. When you meet a woman and that you expect it – some people hold only thanks to this hope – the time stops, literally. I think that the psychology of the one who enters the prison is as important as the one that comes out. These are, originally, of persons in hiding, excluded from the society. Fausto is an Italian immigrant, who tries to fit in, and Nadine, is also only because she has no one to turn to. These people are therefore in permanent conflict with the company. And the prison, this would be a metaphor for this war to society. Paradoxically, the prison is also a place of integration more easy for people like Fausto and Nadine, because they find themselves more alone. They are surrounded by people who understand and can more easily trust in this misery that binds them. This is expressed in the reports with Roschdy Zem.


  • How your choice if it is turned to Roschdy and Astrid ?

Claudio: I came several times in France because I organized the casting for the role of Nadine. I thought the actresses that I liked a lot about the time and finally I was all the time a little dissatisfied. I had seen it in I Origins, and the time of the research of the role was a bit of a time schizophrenic for me, because I was in the middle of filming my series Gomorrah. I needed an actress strong enough to stand in front of the character played by Elio because they are two characters that I imagined to be pretty wild, without education, capable of making mistakes. Astrid arrived the last, but she and Elio have quickly realized that they matched each other to the characters.

And one day, coming in a publishing house, I fall on a poster of Roschdy Zem and I said to myself that it would make a Benedict perfect. It was then that the producer announced to me that he was more apt to interpret a main role or nothing. I told myself that I was going to still pick up a phone, and Roschdy has accepted very willingly, because, although he is a secondary character, the role was a certain complexity that could be interesting to interpret.

Elio: With Astrid, we had worked in the upstream of the filming for two months, because we were respectively learning French and Italian.

Claudio : Yes, and what work they have done helped me a lot because when I came back from Milan, they had already created characters rich and developed, who themselves have enriched my point of view on the story.


  • The love story seems to work only when there is an imbalance ? Do you think that the characters could have been together if their history was not so chaotic ?

Claudio: there is this stage direction in the film, “things are going well because they go bad”, which is an important moment in the story. Actually, these are character who are living in imbalance continuous. They have a maturation process which leads them to have roles reversed. However, this serenity they find at the end of the film, and while Nadine is in prison, they are, by this means, the serenity they sought together.


  • Can we say that Nadine and Fausto exist only through the money ?

Elio : these are The only two people who are trying to be happy. That’s their motto and finally, before being one of the money. Their way of showing they love each other is through money, it is true, because they have grown up thinking that it was the success and happiness. They often speak of becoming ” someone “, as if the fact of being oneself didn’t. They seek this convenience financial but also their identity, in fact. Fausto and Nadine is accustomed to everything to go wrong for them. And Fausto asks, even if it is not necessary to adopt a certain attitude that would be complementary with the fact of being rich. This is the reason why it becomes cold, calculating, aggressive moments in the film. Only, there is a feeling that comes to thwart this desire to become a winner and the film tells the story of this duality constant: that of choosing to destroy their career or their love.

Claudio: And then it is true that nowadays, we live in a kind of blackmail continuously of the money. There will always be this economic preoccupation, whatever the ambitions of each. And although this has existed in other times, this is especially present today. These characters may seem passive but they are always against the current and their aggressivity expresses itself in the ability to do evil, and by cynical also. It is not necessarily physical violence but psychological violence. They are very cruel to one another. For example, when Nadine comes back and told Fausto that she has “fucked with another,” she insult clearly the only thing of beauty that belonged to them. Even when Fausto sees it back in the disco, he is violent himself. That is to say, that he adopts this coldness that allows him to protect himself, but at the same time, violent his own feelings. In addition, it is someone who is not able to decide.


  • Today there is a very large aestheticization of modern cinema Italian, and you have been very careful to work on the framing, the light, the music…

Claudio: Regarding the music, I have chosen a musician who does not work at all in the middle of the electronic music but in the rock industry, so it was not for me, to “decorate” the story in this way. I wanted the music to give off something aggressive that can match to the characters. The music must also be at the service of the story according to me.


  • That is what you liked in the complexity of the character ?

Elio: What is interesting in the role of Fausto is that he is a character constantly torn. There must always be choices to make between what he should do to advance his career and what he wants to do. And it is this tension that has touched me. It is always necessary to take a decision in life, and this is what the film tells.


  • How did you make the choice of the title, Alaska ?

Claudio: I wanted to avoid the clichés of as romantic. So, yes Alaska is a state of the United States, but it is also the state of the gold rush, an extreme adventure, a territory cold and hostile. All these feelings are felt by the characters.

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