‘Nostalgia’ Director Mario Martone & Ippolita Di Majo Discuss Italy’s Oscar Entry – Contenders New York – Deadline
Italian director Mario Martone said his latest film Nostalgia is very similar to his 1995 film The molesto love (disturbing love).
During a panel discussion at Deadline’s Contenders Film: New York event, Martone explained the connection between adapting Elena Ferrante’s debut novel The molesto love and Ermanno Rea’s book Nostalgia for the big screen.
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“In The molesto love we followed this woman,” Martone said. “We walk alongside him and step into his past. In Nostalgia, something similar happens. You have a man, and we walk with him and step into his past.
Nostalgia, presented in preview this year at the Cannes Film Festival, follows Felice Lasco, played by Pierfrancesco Favino, who, after having lived 40 years abroad, returns to Naples and rediscovers the places and codes of the city, facing a past that gnaws at him. Last month, Glass Pictures acquired the North American rights to Nostalgiawhich is Italy’s entry for the International Feature Film Oscar.
Rea’s book appealed to Martone for several reasons.
“It’s a mysterious book,” he said. “Maybe you can consider this as a gangster story because of course there is a criminal situation between Felice and another character, but that’s just one level of the story. The sound of the story (was strong) and the character is not a hero.
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Martone co-wrote Nostalgia with Ippolita Di Majo, who also found the book intriguingly complex.
“I was also very impressed with the human side of Felice,” Di Majo said on stage. “(He is) someone whose roots were torn apart. He had to leave by force and almost forgot where he came from. He forgot his language. So this separation was violent. And then there has a throwback theme in a nostalgic way. The other thing that stood out to me a lot about this character who is a man is his feminine side. There is a possibility of softness in him in the way he takes care of her mother. In terms of taking care of the physical body in Italy, traditionally it’s considered a woman’s job, whereas in this case we see Felice taking care of it, so her feminine side is very important.
Nostalgia is Martone’s 10th feature film. Alongside Favino, the film stars Francesco Di Leva, Tommaso Ragno, Aurora Quattrocchi and Sofia Essaidi.
Check back Monday for the panel video.