Met in a parisian bistro, the Italian director, Valerio Mieli, responded in French to an interview about his first film, 10 Winters in Venice, currently in the cinema.
The main action of the film takes place in Venice, but you have chosen, in the film, not to shoot the usual places, tourist Venice. For what reasons ?
Valerio Mieli : The movie is born with the idea of being filmed in Venice. I’m not Venetian, I am Roman, but I love Venice and I love this spirit of the city which is actually quite little known, even to Italians. I have always dreamed of living in Venice, this is my idea of life romantic fable. It is the life that I love, which is very true, it is a city where people live, where people are transported to the hospital by boat, it is a city of students. This is the part that lies between the reality and the fable.
It was not that the film is too ” cliché “, a love story, Venice…
VM : Yes, there was that aspect. I’ve tried to make the city as I would have liked to discover it.
The inhabitants do not live in Venice itself, but on an island…
VM : Venice is made up of several islands. The island in question does not exist. It is an island that could exist, but these are pieces that have been filmed on different islands. The house where dwells Camilla has been turned to the Arsenal (note : the district of Venice). A good part of the film is shot in this area, in Castello, a neighborhood a little more popular.
The main characters are found only in the winter, you don’t know what happens the rest of the year. Why this desire to outshine the rest ?
VM : the idea of The film was to open a window once a year and look what happened. It is a film of love, on the passing of time. This passing of time can be seen better when one meets people that one has not seen for a long time and we see that time has passed. We wanted to be a movie with these ellipses, and so cut things that could be interesting. But when we find the characters, we know that some important things have happened during the year, and this is something we learn at the same time as them.
The film takes place in the winter, because I love Venice, especially in the winter, there are fewer tourists, this is the life the more everyday, the real life of the Venetians. It is the city of feelings frozen. Winter is the most poetic. If I imagined the film in the summer or at the Meeting, it would have been another movie. There are things that come instinctively and that work, and if there are no good reasons for not doing so, we made it.
Where did the idea of this love story between Camilla and Silvestro, which is hard to achieve and, which is spread over 10 years ?
VM : I started to make this film at the age that the characters have at the end of the film. All those who have worked with me on the film were the same age, we got out of film school so this is a first collective work. In a first film, one puts everything that one has accumulated in previous years. Even if one has not lived a story like this, one may be inspired.
How was the casting and the work with actors ?
VM : The casting was very long. It resulted in the end to these two actors who walked not only very well separately but also very well as a couple. This is a couple that seems to be credible but not too much. The scenario was fairly shielded, there is very little improvisation. We had changed things that did not work during the casting and during the rehearsals. The actors found to do something interesting, but difficult, they had to play ten different characters. Each year, they had to be a little different, it is a difficult job but challenging.
You have worked in collaborate with Moscow ?
VM : The film is a co-production with Russia. They have helped on a financial level, and it was filmed there, it has not been easy. It varied a lot in relation to Venice, I did not know any Russian, so there was a working tracking more important. The ways of working, the rules are different, so it was more difficult to turn there.
Venice represents, in the film, the home, and Russia, an exotic winter. They are going to Russia to look to something else, different from what they know to Venice.
What are your next projects ?
VM : We are in the process of writing. We are working on two things in parallel. One that should be done in Italy, a second film more adult, where we touch the feelings more bitter. And a movie more european, maybe shot in France, it is still a little vague.
You can find the review of the movie at this address.