“My Dante example for today’s young people: keep dreaming”, says Pupi Avati

“My Dante example for today’s young people: keep dreaming”, says Pupi Avati
“My Dante example for today’s young people: keep dreaming”, says Pupi Avati
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After the lesson of immortality imparted with you, the Master speaks to me again Pupi Avati finally realizes Dante, the film about the father of the Italian language that he had wanted to shoot for twenty years. The author of The divine Comedy it is told through a journey, that of its greatest admirer and connoisseur, the equally famous Giovanni Boccaccio, towards the meeting with Dante’s daughter, who became Sister Beatrice, for the delivery of a symbolic compensation to her father. With the face of Sergio Castellitto who plays a tired Boccaccio, sick but eager to find the poet, Avati shows us the human Dante, boy.

Of his acquaintance with the poet through the film Castellitto reveals: “I start from the famous verse In the middle of the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark forest because we learn that Dante was a man hunted, exiled, soldier, poor, he could not enjoy the love of his life. Behavior or incidents that could belong to all of us. We call depression the darkness of the mind ‘hence the dark forest. Poets are the only ones who can save us, who can be modern. They are like miners, they slip into this black hole and take out a gold nugget “ concludes. Waiting for the film to hit theaters on September 29th, Pupi Avati tells about his film and his hopes for the future.

Why did you feel that this was the right time, as an author, to investigate Dante’s human beyond his works?
Because I felt sufficiently equipped, on a human level: a man who reaches 83 knows enough about life to be able to give it back and somehow grasp it in its deepest and most significant aspects. At the same time, with my studies and my knowledge of that world and that character so ineffable, extraordinary and mysterious, which marked that era, it seemed to me that I had finally come to be worthy of this operation.

The feeling watching the film is that it is a research of Dante, not only the poet, the author and the genius but the boy. Is that so?
This is also explained by Boccaccio in the last line of the film when he says to Dante’s daughter: “I don’t know how to see him except as a boy”. And it is also my narrative pretext in the sense that if I approached Dante it is thanks above all to La Vita nova, which is the life of a boy who tells his love story for a girl who becomes a teenager, then becomes a woman , marries another and then dies. This path that he makes close to this woman, this prosimeter which is just a set of poems and prose is so absolutely punctual, profound, convincing that it really seduced me many years ago and since then I have been looking for a way to be able to return a boy Dante , daily human, accessible and seductive, who could convince us that we are adequate to be able to face his work.

The film’s connection with young people today is fascinating, who can perhaps identify with Dante and find their own uniqueness. Did you also think about the film in these terms?
Dante is a very high example. Young people have, alas, become too rational. They abdicated and renounced their dreams with a sort of modesty or excess of reasonableness.

The esoteric component, typical of his cinema, is not lacking in the film. How did you balance poetry and mystery, these two aspects, present at the time and inevitable for you?
It is the part that ignores me, that of the most mysterious story even for myself. He does not obey my studies and the advice of the various Dantists and it is the part that even escapes even Boccaccio because he himself does not know, for example in the film, that that mysterious object he carries with him, had actually been in the arms of Beatrice a girl when she got married, wishing she could have children while she died instead.

Another dualism in the film is the continuous one between solemnity and carnality, ethereal life and death. Was it difficult to manage?
It was not difficult, it is my world that is made up of all this, I come from an archaic, peasant culture that today cannot of course be conceived, imagined, but Italy up to the 1950s was like that, it had within itself these components were very strong. Even the sense of the sacred for example. This is why I am deeply attracted to the Middle Ages because then, even if it was made up of horrors, pains, blood, violence, sacredness prevailed, it was a priority.

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It’s love? We have always been taught that Dante’s involvement in Beatrice was only poetic and instead …
Instead Giovanni Boccaccio tells us in Dante’s biography that he was a lustful. He certainly did not disdain women, he had had an infinite number of relationships, only physical because then ideally Beatrice remained inside his heart. There is also a sort of admonition from Beatrice as he has a physical relationship with the miller in the film, a severe Beatrice, a dead Beatrice,

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What does cinema need today, what must we do to revive the theater?
Cinema needs to identify a selected audience. We will never get the big numbers of the past back because they are confined to watching films through other devices such as platforms, above all. Cinema, understood as something ambitious, culturally exceptional, a little out of fashion, the star system, the red carpet, intended for those who know how to see and appreciate it, in my opinion it will survive. In a very special way as happens to classical music or theater. Not everyone goes to hear Brahms or see Chekhov, but they have an audience. We should reduce the commercial expectations a little bit, however, in my opinion we must institute a law that is as protective as the French law is protective, which opens a huge gap between the release of the film and its projection on the platforms.

What public reaction do you hope for the release of your film?
I wish there were many people seduced by Dante and consequently also by Boccaccio and that this film would make proselytes. I hope they will be intrigued by my film and go and buy La Vita Nova the next day.

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Chiara Nicoletti


The article is in Italian

Tags: Dante todays young people dreaming Pupi Avati

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