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Giulia: a heroine without filters

Ciro De Caro surprises once again with his third film Giulia – Una selvaggia voglia di libertà, after Spaghetti Story and Acqua di marzo, both positively received by critics and audiences.

Giulia (Rosa Palasciano) is constantly caught between the need for love and for a family and an overwhelming desire for freedom. In her journey through a sunny summer Rome, she is joined by characters as atypical as herself (Valerio Di Benedetto, Fabrizio Ciavoni and Matteo Quinzi are also in the cast).

Rosa Palasciano is among the nominees for the David di Donatello Awards 2022 in the category Best Leading Actress for Giulia.

“Truth, strictness and lightness’”: how do these three concepts translate into your directing?

It is a process from writing to editing. Technically, I try to leave as much space as possible for the actors. I ask the entire technical cast not to limit the physicality, the expressiveness, the movements of the actors in any way. I ask the actors to embrace the character without turning into something else. I did not foresee any make-up department because it seemed to me an excessive step towards fiction. For those characters, everyday life is without make-up. Lightness because everything must be simple, from the crew to the technical equipment, to the relationship on the set with everyone, especially the actors. I don’t like to say that I ‘direct’ them, but that together we find a common path. The lightness of being able to move freely without having constraints, weights, which keep you stuck to choices made at the table and which it would then be better to change.

You wrote the film with Rosa Palasciano. What was the creative process like between the two of you?

Working with Rosa, I realized that if I had only had to write a character like this, I would have once again told a female character as we men imagine it: in a superficial and disrespectful way. Rosa helped me to understand how limited and superficial the vision we have of a female character can be.

Giulia’s is a complex character who breaks with the stereotypical representation we often see in cinema. What are the nuances that make the protagonist so real?

With Rosa, who is a talented and instinctive actress, we set ourselves the challenge of writing and staging a character that would walk a fine line, to make it real and true. Giulia is a character you both hate and love, and if Rosa didn’t have the ability to walk this fine line she would have easily fallen into drama, melodrama or comedy. The nuances make this character believable, and they are made up of the little things that are often cut out in cinema because they are too normal.

At the beginning of the film Giulia says she wants a family, then paradoxically she clashes with her ex-boyfriend’s relatives during a meeting.

Giulia clashes with a broader concept not only of family, but of reality, which considers only a planned and predictable life to be desirable. Her ex-boyfriend’s family represents those who cannot understand people who live differently in our society, which does not necessarily mean in a totally opposite way. There is a fracture, a clash of two worlds that cannot be together. Although they both want the same thing as a concept they are looking for two different kind of family.

Giulia is constantly collecting abandoned toys without having given birth to any children...

The idea came to us while we were walking by the sea: at sunset the waves were carrying used toys on the beach. It wasn’t planned, but it helped us to build the character of Giulia who accumulates toys like an ant accumulates food for the winter, hoping that her wish for motherhood will come true. Giulia has no money and that is how she can prepare things for this child she so badly wants. I like to imagine that this child is also her, it is Giulia as a child, the character who is not seen but to whom she would like to give a childhood probably better than the one she had.


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