Sex & Grief
Legendary Italian actor and filmmaker Nanni Moretti talks about his new role as a grieving TV executive
‘I went to a public reading of the novel Quiet Chaos by the author Sandro Veronesi who I have known for years. Outside the bookshop I happened to bump into a woman from the production company, who told me that they had already bought the rights to turn the book into a film. I told her straight away that I’d be very interested in playing the lead role of Pietro Paladini. When Sandro rang me up the next day, saying it would be a pleasure to work together, I realised I couldn’t go back on my word.
‘Right from the beginning, when I was reading the book, I was intrigued by the idea of playing Pietro, but I never thought that this was a film I would direct. I think what interested me, both as an actor and as a person, is that story explores the possibility of a man who puts his life on hold after a tragedy, and who steps back and reorders the different elements in his existence.
Quiet Chaos shows a very different way of going through the mourning process than my earlier film The Son’s Room. In a sense you feel that Pietro is waiting for some sort of expression of grief to arrive upon him and upon his 10-year-old daughter Claudia (Blu Yoshimi). The film is a series of duets between Pietro and the various people in his life.
The sex scene in the film, between my character and Eleonara (Isabella Ferrari), has caused a hysterical reaction in Italy. Apparently I shouldn’t be acting in such a scene. To me it’s a case of projection — people project onto somebody else their own problems. Roughly the same thing happened with The Caiman. Journalists wrote sensational articles about the film before they had actually seen it, and there was this absurd debate about something I hadn’t made. I didn’t think it was possible for the Italian press to get any worse but I think they have.’
Quiet Chaos plays GFT, Glasgow and Filmhouse, Edinburgh from Fri 28 Nov–Thu 4 Dec.