Pierfrancesco Campanella is one of the most significant and important directors of the Italian “Noir” cinema, one of those characters that comes from the ranks, the real one … which you can only do with so much dedication and sacrifices!
He began his artistic career in 1980 studying acting and in 1985 he obtained a master’s degree in directing with Douglas Trumbel at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.In 1982 he made his debut on TV as an actor in the film “La veritaaaa” by Cesare Zavattini, one of the most important Italian writers and writers of the twentieth century.
In these years he began to devote himself to writing and directing, from which his first cinematographic work came out, entitled “Cattivi Pierrot”, presented in 1986 at the Venice Film Festival. After several successful films such as “Cattive inclinazioni” and “Bugie rossa”, in 2017 he made a documentary tribute to director Marco Ferreri, entitled “i love … Marco Ferreri”, acclaimed by critics and audiences at various film festivals.
- Hi Pierfrancesco, tell us about your beginnings … How was the passion for cinema born?
I’ve always been passionate about entertainment, ever since I was a child. So, from a very young age, I began to take the first steps to introduce myself into the environment, making multiple experiences. I can say that I have done everything, always in small steps and with great humility. Then in 1985 I even managed to produce a film called “Cattivi Pierrot”. And from there my “official” path to cinema began.
- In 1991 you directed a Donatella Rettore and a Dalila of Lazzaro in the satirical comedy entitled “Strepitosamente Flop” … Do you talk about it?
It was a wonderful experience, also due to my young age and the enthusiasm of when you think you have the world in your hands, while in reality for the world you are any one. I have a pleasant memory of both the artists you mentioned. Since then I have never seen Dalila again, while with Rettore we have been in touch over time. That film, recently released for the first time on DVD by CG Entertainment, over time has become a “cult movie” and today that has been rediscovered everyone talks about it well. In fact it was very original for the time, dealing with issues that were perhaps a little too “ahead”, while today they are very topical.
- Your film “Bugie Rosse” has become a cult in the noir genre together with “Cattive Inclinazioni” … How does this recognition of criticism and public make you feel?
Obviously I am very pleased. Both films have entered the evergreen preferences of thrillers. I discovered that there are so many passionate lovers of that kind of cinema around who consider me a little master in the “yellow” sector. It is true that my works are intended to divide the public and I know I have many detractors who criticize me with great ferocity. On the one hand it is better this way: it means that I do not go unnoticed. Also “Red Lies” and “Bad inclinations” have recently returned to home video stores, again by CG Entertainment.
- In 2017 you made the documentary film “I Love … Marco Ferreri” which achieved considerable success in various film festivals … Why did you decide to make this documentary?
I was proposed by those who saw in me, after having the due proportions, an unconventional and unconventional artist. I, who have always loved the works of the great genius, author of so many masterpieces such as “La grande abbuffata” or “The last woman”, I immediately accepted precisely because of those characteristics of rebellion to the established canons that to some extent unite me to Marco Ferreri. Still in my small, of course.
- You are a director always looking for new atypical subjects and outside the classical schemes of cinema, this sometimes makes them “misunderstood geniuses” … How do you experience this?
Somehow, I’ve already anticipated you before. I don’t like to be cataloged as one of the many and the fact of not being an approved artist fills me with pride. Always ready to pay the price, whatever it is.
- In your films, very often we denote almost “surreal” situations, which then indirectly lead back to real facts … How much is real in each of your films?
Almost everything, because often reality exceeds imagination. In each story the author puts a part of himself or at least of situations of which he is aware, filtering the matter through his taste and his sensitivity.
- An actor that you would like to have as the protagonist of your film?No one in particular. I do not see acting geniuses around, nor real stars. The era of the Deaf, Gassman, Manfredi, Tognazzi and Mastroianni is hopelessly over.
- Which contemporary directors do you find most interesting today?
Staying in Italy, today there are many professionals even good, but I also notice a lot of discontinuity. Maybe they get a movie right and they are praised, then three of them are wrong. I, in all honesty, I also see so many overrated and too politically supported people. Those who are not part of a certain “system” find it much more difficult to work.
- Do you have any new projects you’re working on right now?
More than one. I should soon go back to directing a feature film, after having made several shorts, which still gave me a lot of satisfaction. I wait for the right moment, with an important distribution behind. I don’t feel like making a film just to make, if it doesn’t come out in a decent way in theaters. I do not want to end up like many colleagues forced to make impromptu invitational screenings, aimed at relatives and friends, just to give visibility to acquaintances.
- From where does Pierfrancesco Campanella take inspiration for his films?
From an emotion, a feeling, a moment of life. Then we build the outline.
- The film par excellence that you love the most?
To stay in the field of thriller, “Profondo rosso” by Dario Argento, an absolute masterpiece. Do you think that as a boy, when he went out to the cinema, I went to see him for a week in a row. I never imagined that one day the American press would even compare me to Dario Argento: it happened on the occasion of the release in the USA of my “Bad inclinations”
- Of the young emerging Italian directors what do you think?
There is a lot of confusion around. Many get up in the morning and call themselves directors only for having posted a two-minute video on Youtube, shot with a mobile phone. I would urge everyone to study, to prepare, to do the proper apprenticeship. Cinema is a difficult job and should be done with awareness, only if you really have something to communicate.
- As well as a director, you are also an established journalist and you write for one of the most important music magazines, “Raropiù”, but do you like writing as much as directing a film?
Even more, because it doesn’t force me to get up early in the morning! Joke, of course, but I confess to being basically very lazy and lazy.
- What music do you appreciate the most?
Everything that comes out of the box and does not fit into the “already heard”.
- Who is a sacred music icon for you?
As a child I idolized Patty Pravo, not only for the extraordinary beauty, the originality of the way of singing and the beautiful songs of her repertoire, but also for having been a model of rebellion and freedom for an entire generation.
- The most “extraordinary” actress of all time according to Pierfrancesco Campanella?
Alida Valli, whom I had the honor of directing in my “Red Lies”. An exceptional artist and woman who taught me so many things. Among other things, it was my father’s cinematographic myth: who knows how he would have enjoyed it, if he had still been alive when I made that movie!