“Brilliant, witty, positive woman. For free. Frank and sincere, both in work and in friendship. He taught me that if you want to do something, you have to do it because you feel like it, not because someone tells you to or to achieve a goal; the alternative is no. She was my antidepressant, I will be grateful to her for the rest of my life.” Jari Gugliucci pays “heartfelt and respectful tribute” to his mentor: Lina WertmülleR. And has been doing it ever sinceHotel Excelsior on the Venetian Lidowhere tomorrow, at 14.00, during International Film Festivalwill present Cinematic space of the Fondazione Ente dello SpettacoloThanks Lina, a short documentary he wrote and directed and dedicated to the great director who passed away in December 2021. This interview is illustrated Luca Valerio D’Amico, with anecdotes and previously unpublished archival material that Jari has collected over the years; there is a portrait of a unique soul, as pure and authentic as Lina’s,” explains Daniele Urciuolo, producer for Bishop Productions short.
Gugliucci, how did the idea for this document come about?
“I was a regular visitor to the living room of Lina Wertmüller, a kind of psychoanalysis studio where I treated my existential anxieties. Days spent on the couch watching two or three old movies on TV, we nibbled something and talked. Everything and even more. And between conversation and reflection, he gave me advice regarding my grief. He would be happy to see me today with my wonderful Sylvia and our wonderful Greta. I started recording our conversations, Lina liked it, it became a game. I thought about the book, in the end I chose the language of cinema.”
How did you meet Wertmüller?
“I found out that she was looking for actors for the film Ferdinand and Caroline, I already tried to intercept her at Giffoni, but she ignored me. My lucky ace was Gabriella Pession with whom I filmed “Captain” for TV. She was invited to dinner at Lina’s house, and she was afraid to make a bad impression, considering me an “intellectual” because I had a degree in philosophy, and she took me with her. I immediately became close to Lina’s husband, Enrico Job, and two days later they invited me to visit. Sardinia, on the boat; parties with Cricia, Marta Marzotto, Caterina D’Amico, Giancarla Rosi, the best representative of the international elite. We often stayed on board with Lina, she told stories and asked for stories, you are young De Crescenzo, she told me.
And, returning from vacation, already with the script already closed, he wrote a part especially for her.
“One of Gennarino Rivelli, Childhood playmate and adult mischievous Ferdinando, a kind of Pulcinella. Then Lina wanted me to be in the railway station.TV movie “Francesca and Nunziata”taught me rigor and that being an actor is not a starting point, but a point of arrival.”
Your collaboration was not just creative.
“It made me look at life with different eyes. I often accompanied her, she wanted me to be with her, even when she was awarded the “Oscar” for her career: “Come on, come with me, let’s do this bullshit in Los Angeles, let’s have a laugh.” In America, she was adored, because she was the first woman nominated for an Oscar for Best Director in 1977. It was a fantastic evening, Sophia Loren next to her, compliments from stars such as David Lynch, Geena Davis, Tarantino, Almodovar, a grand party in her honor, hosted by Martha De Laurentiis; famous people who greeted her, and she whispered in my ear: “who is this?” I miss his irony, his joy of life.”
It’s been a busy 2023, are there any new projects?
“September 4th there will be a press conference in Venice for Uomini da pavement, a black comedy from the 70s, as my friend defines it. Alessandro Siani who also edited the script. Directed by Francesco Albanese, I’m Polifemo, the one-eyed villain. It will hit theaters in mid-September. “On Fire” by the author Conor Allin with very good Amber Heard, I play a Dominican with a light shotgun. After waiting 70 years to appear on television, Rai will see me again as an unscrupulous impresario in Luce nela Masseria. Also coming out in January is a hilarious black comedy google two nurses who rely on a surgeon addicted to cocaine.
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