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Marco Piccarreda

Gaia Formenti

Marco Piccarreda Gaia Formenti
Dans le paysage minéral, les figures semblent appartenir à un âge archaïque ré-imaginé. Masques immenses, postures hiératiques condensent chaque personnage en un archétype. Soudain ceux-ci refont apparition dans un théâtre d’ombres dont le drap tendu fait écho à l’écran de cinéma. Une spectatrice s’endort et réapparaît avec un masque animal, simultanément chaperon rouge et loup. Gaia Formenti et Marco Piccareda poursuivent sur la voie de Creatura dove vai ? (FID 2019) avec ce conte qui, sa fertilité formelle devenant sexuelle, culmine en un cantique de la muqueuse et des fluides corporels. (Nathan Letoré)

Interview with Marco Piccarreda and Gaia Formenti

Your film weaves different narrative modes : costume drama, fairy tale, visuel poem. Why this play on narrative registers ?

MP : All of our films are born in a ferocious regime of auto-production, and are made alone, in an atmosphere of complete immersion in the film’s universe.
For The Birth of a Kingdom as for the previous ones, we took care of everything: we made the costumes, built the sets, created special effects, designed the monsters, in addition to taking care of the shooting, the editing, the actors… This exhausting way of working has as its counterpart a full and perilous freedom of action (there is neither script nor production plan). Between the first shot and the last one, there was almost a year and more than 1000km. This total freedom and openness also shows in the narrative, in the film’s style, in its atmospheres. It is only at a very advanced stage that the film revealed itself as a meditation on the meaning of “narration” itself. An intuition that guided me throughout the editing. For The Birth of a kingdom is precisely this prism of worlds that weave into each other. Seemingly disjointed, obscure tales that never follow a blood-red thread.

Could you tell me something about the shadow theatre?

GF: The film can be read as the story of a sacrifice: that of a young girl on the cusp of teenagehood.
But with the idea that the young protagonist, instead of being a defenceless little girl, as to sacrifice herself on a “virile,” typically masculine mission (hence the wolf mask). We wanted this mortal mission to have in some way a visual dimension, for it to be told by mages and not oral language (the film is silent). This is how the shadow theatre (which was the first kind of cinema) was born, a little film within the film that has as its aim the protagonist’s amusement and instruction as to her future mission, by inscribing her action in a mythical, heroic narrative. And it is precisely by falling asleep while watching this show, cradled by the shadows and the night fire, that the protagonist will enter, in a dream, the mythological fable she was witnessing, becoming its protagonist. We must thank Nadia Milani and Matteo Moglianesi, two extraordinary actors and animators, for the animation of the puppets designed by Marco.

In the first section, your characters belong to a mythical register that seems both ancestral and parodic. How did you elaborate the visual design of this section?

MP: We know the place where we shot the film’s opening very well (we had already shot our previous film, Creatura dove vai? there) so we had the landscape, the light, the colour tones in mind, which we needed to find our comic and apocalyptic prologue. The idea was to evoke an arid, dying world that would serve as a counterpoint to the forest’s obscure fertility in the second part of the film.
A world of hieratic, unmoving ancestors, sorcerers from the past, now incapable of creating life.
Hence the idea of the desert landscape flooded with light, of the cracks in the ground, the animal bones, the white clothes and the huge argile and fossil hats.
The inexhaustible sources of my imagination are Pasolini and Piero delle Francesca.

Your film culminates in a visual symphony of textures that evoke genitalia and bodily fluids. How did you conceive of this ending in relation to the rest of the film?

GF: The original idea was to create a fusion between the girl and the forest, a sort of first sexual act, an initiation to eroticism. At the outset, we didn’t really know how to direct this sequence. Marco started experimenting with latex, creating objects that were a strange mixture of flower, fruit, and genitalia.
They were somehow fascinating because the material was not easily recognisable and was open to different interpretations.
Following this intuition, we devised mechanisms to animate them, make them swell and ooze liquids.
We knew this scene would differ from the rest of the film through its universe and language. But we also knew that it would serve us precisely through its strongly evocative and anarchic dimension, sometimes almost horrific.

Interview by Nathan Letoré

  • Sentiers expanded

Technical sheet

Italie / 2021 / Couleur et Noir & blanc / 32’

Version originale : sans paroles
Scénario : Marco Piccarreda, Gaia Formenti
Image : Marco Piccarreda
Montage : Marco Piccarreda
Son : Giancarlo Rutigliano
Production : Marco Piccarreda, Gaia Formenti
Distribution : Marco Piccarreda
Filmographie :
– Marco Piccarreda & Gaia Formenti :
Creatura Dove Vai?, 2019
Cittàgiardino, 2018
– Marco Piccarreda : Spartivento, 2022.