Locarno 76. Conversation with Pietro Scalia

At Locarno for the Ticinomoda Vision Award, Pietro Scalia talks about his studies, his passion for art, the directors he has worked with, artificial intelligence and Ferrari with Michael Mann.



One of the key encounters at the 2023 Locarno Film Festival is Ticinomoda 2023 Vision Award winner Pietro Scalia, who has won two Oscars for his career, one for JFK – Case still open and for Black hawk down. He was born in Catania and lived in Aarau, in German-speaking Switzerland. After a period spent in Zurich, he traveled to America to study cinema to follow his passion for art and drawing. “I thought about life in Zurich and started doing business where my knowledge of languages ​​could come in handy. I wasn’t happy. I have this passion for cinema, also born from the Italo-Swiss television, where many films were shown, which was a window into my roots and into this culture. There were 3 cinemas in Aarau, and I went to see films not only by Sergio Leone, but also by Bruce Lee, Duke or Fassbinder, Antonioni. A very pervasive choice. I really like the image, what I feel in my body. So I started thinking about what to do to work in the cinema. One day I went on vacation to my aunt in New York and got some information. I got a scholarship in New York and then went to UCLA to get my master’s degree. I am happy that I was chosen from hundreds of students.”

After UCLA, Pietro Scalia returns to Switzerland, but nothing happens. In the United States, he made some small, experimental shorts, but then things fell apart a bit. He returned there. Editing was his way of approaching directing, the great masters. In Los Angeles, he knocked on many doors, and finally got the opportunity to work with Andrei Konchalovsky in Louisiana as a second assistant. “I was there to deliver pizza, buns. We reviewed the material and records. The first mate got a little confused and I took his place. I came to Stone through a friend’s brother. I passed by one day while they were getting ready platoon, but there was no place in that project, I got a promise to join the group for the next film, and in fact it happened the next year. On set, Oliver Stone asked me for my opinion, and I was honest in my criticism. This honesty was appreciated.”
The job of an editor, Pietro Scalia, is a bit like a writer’s job. In his documentaries, the story was born from the images, formed in the montage. For him, it goes without saying. Wall Street this is the first film in a long-term relationship with Oliver Stone for titles such as Talk radiowhere he became first assistant editor, Born July 4th assembly related, doors as an editor, moving up the career ladder in small but significant steps. 70 hours a week, up to 12 hours a day, even on Sundays. Then came John Kennedy.“Working with Oliver Stone is like a war, but we won this battle. With Oscar, I definitely had more fame. A few weeks later I was called from Italy to a big-budget film with Adriano Celentano. Jackpots. I agreed but this movie was really messed up, Mario Orfini was the producer of his second movie as a director. He thought he was Spielberg, but he wasn’t. He didn’t even pay me at all. But that summer I had the opportunity to meet Bertolucci and also Fellini. A few months later, Bernardo offered me a job at Little Buddha. I used to work with Oliver Stone, it was different with him. We looked at the stuff at the hotel and he didn’t give me any directions. He told me that I should find a drawing. He read the newspaper and talked to me about Jean Renoir or Pasolini, a roundup that reminded me of Godard. He talked about cinema and expressed his love for cinema.” At that time, they watched a lot of movies, talked about Music room Satyajit Ray, Kurosawa, Ozu Cinema and Mizoguchi.

After Bertolucci, the discussion moves on to another great director, Ridley Scott, who, in Scalia’s opinion, is endowed with a perfect aesthetic, compared to one who prefers a dirty, less perfect, and more true aesthetic. Harmony was immediately born with the British director because of his willingness to sacrifice images for the end result and put himself at the service of the story being told. For Black hawk down so many shots were taken, editing it was a very difficult thing, so many soldiers, helicopters, taking into account the joints, positions, explosions, skirmishes, all counting on the action. Scalia recalls that in one scene it took three days to find the key. “We need to find the pieces and restore the logic. Rebellious genius Gus Van Sant there are things that are not visible on the surface. It’s very dialogue based, dialect based, tempo based. Few people saw my work, but even there it was not immediately possible to restore the smoothness and energy that were born on the set. There was a lot of improvisation, and that didn’t make it any easier. Sam Raimi on set The Quick to Die (tribute to Sergio Leone with Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio) he jokingly told me What did you do today, butcher? He had inventions all the time, but the studios made us have lots of cuts of very interesting stuff. Very few directors have the right to final cut. Once there were more of them, now there will be 5, Spielberg, Scorsese, Mann. For example, if I could, I would put Little BuddhaUnfortunately, the film was taken over by Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, who overdubbed many of the scenes. also in Prometheus unfortunately, many of the opening scenes were cut.”

Pietro Scalia’s career has gone through all the evolutions of formats and support. followed these changes to come to the fact that now everything is filmed digitally, except for Nolan and Tarantino, sound effects, music. The latest threatening innovation is artificial intelligence. “We are at a critical juncture with all technology, especially for writers and actors, as the current strike says. Besides the pay, the language system can write the script, sometimes they make mistakes, but they are capable and work much faster, voices and characters can be created from the material, and the actors are also concerned about this. I don’t know if the AI ​​is capable of editing. Editing is a language, so maybe yes, in a few years. AI can learn to make choices, understand whether words are right, respect the geography of places, can recognize emotional expressions in the face, in the eyes. But today in editing it is a personal choice, a human choice. I recognize certain emotions or levels of emotion that are very subtle. It’s not a scientific choice.” The meeting ends with a few words ferrari, Michael Mann’s latest film shot in Modena, which will premiere at the next Venice Film Festival, is another name of absolute prestige to add to his collaboration. “Mann is a very precise person in the field of photography and gives very precise editing notes, many of them. I had to harmonize my method with his. He is an excellent teacher, very good at directing actors. His control, his dedication is incredible, he has the energy of a 30 year old.”

————————————————– ————

————————————————– ————

Source link

Leave a Comment