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I prefer dramedy, says Italian director Salvatore Allocca

CLOSE TO LIFE A scene from Taranta On The Road

CLOSE TO LIFE A scene from Taranta On The Road  

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Director Salvatore Allocca on Taranta On The Road, a love story that reflects the experiences of North African immigrants in Italy

Italian director Salvatore Allocca’s Taranta On The Road is about finding love amidst the immigrant crisis during the Arab Spring. When two illegal immigrants from North Africa land in Italy, they have to pretend to be a married couple in the eyes of three Italian musicians, who later help them reach Paris.

The filmmaker, who has presented his films in prestigious film festivals across the globe, is in India for a screening at the ongoing European Film Festival at Siri Fort Auditorium. Here he talks about his inspirations, the issue of immigrant crisis and present Italian sensibilities.

Excerpts:

What intrigued you to make a film around illegal immigrant crisis?

During the Arab Spring in 2011, I recorded the experiences of immigrants from North Africa who came to Italy and were scattered around Italy. I built the aspirations, traits, habits and the sensibilities of the main characters through my own experiences with the immigrants who came during that period.

I had the idea of a fake honeymoon and I wrote a story around it. Later, I rewrote the draft with Amara Lakhous, a well-known Algerian writer, to give it more authenticity as he knows the sensibilities of these people. There were some dialogues in Arabic and I let it remain that way because the more important thing is the emotion.

Why did you restrict yourself to a period when the problem is still very pertinent?

I wanted to restrict myself to the period of 2011 because the policies and conditions of immigrant change with time and you cannot capture that change on one canvas. Also, the mindset around the immigrant issue remains the same. Also, I wanted the viewers to have an idea of what happened during that one particular period and for that I used real news footage which gives it authenticity and makes it feel more real. It is more important now because extreme right is getting power in many states.

Do you think that people from across the world can relate to this issue?

A story about immigration can be universal if you can connect with the problem which everybody can feel. For immigrants, it is the aspiration to reach a country where they can achieve their dream which their country does not offer and for young Italians, it is the realisation of the self.

The larger problems are same for everybody be it immigrant or a native. Life brings you to different destinations. Sometime you do not achieve your dream and find something else to be happy as sometimes dreams are like obstacles for your happiness. Even if you find other ways to be happy that doesn't mean that you do not fight for your dreams. You can live life to the full even if you don't reach your personal goals.

Though it deals with a very sensitive issue, the film also has humour...

For me, it is important that you find a balance between drama and comedy because even a drama can have comic elements. I prefer dramedy because great Italian directors invented it, people are familiar with it and the aesthetics are very much Italian.

Do you think young Italian filmmakers live under the shadow of the country’s glorious past?

Yes. Young Italians have to prove themselves more as they have a huge legacy. As a young filmmaker, I can say that we live under the shadow of the masters of 1960s and 1970s like Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni. Whenever I go abroad, I get to know that everyone knows these masters.

Sometimes, it is difficult to find your personal voice under that shadow and let people know what contemporary sensibilities are.

The film also deals with the issue of same-sex relationship. Is the younger generation still not open about their sexual preferences?

In Italy, there are still those people with a closed mindset. So young people are still scared to come out openly about their sexuality in front of their parents and they pretend to be heterosexual. I know a couple of people like that and that gave me an idea to include their experiences in the film.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 12:03:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/the-hindu-metro-plus/article24252356.ece

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