Marco Amenta • Director of Through the Waves
“The film is interesting because it is a window that allows us to see into the minds of the characters”
– The Italian director talks about his new film, a psychological film noir that marks a total break with his previous works, and which is showing at the 12th Bif & st in Bari
The author of various committed documentaries (on the Mafia, the Bosnian war, Berlusconi), as well as of a fictional film on the state witness Rita Atria who committed suicide at only 17 years old, director and photojournalist Marco amenta, born in Palermo and graduated in cinematography in Paris, opted for a total change of direction for his second feature film. Through the waves [+see also:
interview: Marco Amenta
film profile], which participates in the 12th Bif & st – Bari International Film Festival in the Italian Premieres section, is a psychological noir film whose two main characters, played by Vincenzo Amato and Sveva Alviti, embark on a journey halfway between dream and reality, aboard a refrigerated truck (which carries a red-hot load).
Cineuropa: Why this sudden change from your previous works?
Marco Amenta: It’s a different movie, but it’s part of the same path. I come from a realistic background, I was a photojournalist reporting on wars and Mafia stories, then I switched to documentaries, exploring mainly social themes, then to fiction. Sicilian ribelle was a realistic mafia story, but the girl’s psychological journey was an important part of this movie as well. I think this film is interesting because it’s a window that allows us to see into the minds of the characters, into their inner world. In real life, we can’t read people’s minds, we don’t know how far they have come.
You’ve taken this idea even further here.
This film is even more psychological. Salvo and Léa are a separated couple who still love each other, they have a tumultuous relationship, they set off on a journey between two islands, Sicily and Sardinia, between sea and land; they confront each other, they fall in love with each other, they confront their past. But they are also embarking on a psychological journey. There are two plots: the journey into the present, which is linear, with boats, night streets, wild and distant landscapes; and the inner journey, especially inside the mind of Salvo, which is not linear because the mind comes and goes and takes the road of the unconscious and hallucination. It is a rugged course, full of holes that the spectator must fill. It’s a less realistic film reminiscent of writers like Lynch and Tarkovsky, who had the courage to tell a fragmented story rather than serving it on a set.
It is definitely one of those films that must be seen in the cinema.
Films that tell fragmented stories place the viewer in front of works that are less easy to follow, which is why you have to watch them in a cinema, in order to immerse yourself in the journey, which is also conveyed by the image and sound, more difficult to decipher on videos or platforms. Pasquale Catalano and I worked hard on the music, which is enveloping and sometimes jarring with its distorted sounds and sounds reminiscent of other things. In a movie theater, you can use sound to its full potential, just as you can with pictures and their epic potential. There are no clear answers, in various scenes reality mingles with the dream. It is an experimental cinema which is assuming growing importance today, setting itself apart from the films shown by platforms; it’s an aesthetic experience, a film where you can also get lost if you want. This is why I waited for the end of the confinement and I did not give in to the temptation to release the film on a platform, because we must try to protect the cinema media.
Despite the evolution of your filmography, you have maintained your link with strong social themes.
It is a love story but in the background there is the journey undertaken by Salvo who wants to return the body of this migrant, which he could not save, to his wife. He talks about the tragedy experienced by so many migrants who die in the Mediterranean, who cannot be properly mourned by their loved ones as they often do not find their bodies. It is a tragedy specific to our century.
Where are you at with your new fiction project Anne?
It will be shot in 2022. It is a co-production with the French producer Antoine de Clermont Tonnerre (Mact Productions), a project recognized at European level by Media and Eurimages. We have the support of the Sardinia region and we are awaiting the final funding. I am now looking for the protagonist of the film – this is the story of a strong woman. It’s going to be more of a realistic movie that sees me go back to a more linear storytelling, but it’s also going to be an unconventional character, who is fishy, full of flaws and idiosyncrasies, but still has a hell of a fight on his hands.
(Translated from Italian)