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I was born in Villa del Conte (just outside Padua) on January 8th 1949. They tell me I'm a typical Capricorn but I've never been all that interested in astrology. I spent my early years in the country and then my family (my parents and three sisters) moved to Padua where I lived until I was 25.
My high school years and those at university were what you might call "the best years of my life": lively, undisciplined, carefree and creative. In fact I studied precious little (I did eventually get a degree in Letters -with a thesis on the Italian horror film - but twenty years later!). To make up for this I spent a vast amount of time on photography, filming, going to the cinema and listening to music. Right from the start I was determined to be a film director and I became one. Even today I don't know what other career I could have taken up. Since 1974 I've lived in Rome with Marisa Andalò, my companion in school and now my companion in life. Together with my wife I've written scripts for "Solamente nero" ("The Bloodstained Shadow"), "Barcamenandoci" and many other subjects for the cinema, and also texts for documentaries, proposals for television commercials etc.

Many of these were accepted and many more not. With Marisa I've also dreamed of doing something really important, significant, beautiful, useful (call it what you like!) for the cinema and that dream is still there, a bit like a faded photo but always ready to burst into glorious colour. In 2004 we finished writing the script for a film noir and I know that this is the movie I want to make at this moment in time. And I'm going to do it one way or the other. Now, for those of you who want to find out some more about me I thought I would "illuminate" you (and me) and include in this blanket term a list of memories, anecdotes and bits of this and that, which will serve to help me in writing my life story (so far) and, I hope, also you who have the interest and the patience to read it.

The first time I…

The first time I… realized that I'd been born into the world to look at it through the lens of a movie camera, was when I was six. I was given a hand operated 35mm projector, got hold of bits of discarded film and projected them on my bedroom wall over and over again.

The first time I… had the desire to tell stories with a movie camera was when I was less than ten years old, and the projectionist of our local cinema let me into his "magical cabin" where I could watch the huge cinema reels, the film passing through them and that great arc of light
casting images on the screen. I felt like Alice in Wonderland. He also let me see movies free.

The first time I… felt grown up was when I forged someone's signature for the first and last time in my life. I was 13 and at that time would have done anything to possess a movie camera and since nobody in my family was the least bit interested in the movies, I took the initiative and signed my mother's name on a hire purchase form. I was still living in Padua at the time and saw an advert in the local paper for a camera that could be paid for by instalments from Rome. So without another thought I ordered it. Just like that. To this day, my mother, now 94, knows nothing about it.

The first time I… made a short sound movie with a script adapted from Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (starring my relatives and some friends of my own age) was immediately after I became the proud possessor of my "camera on the never-never." I also made my first enemy because in a sadistic attempt at cinematic realism I emptied a pot of fresh paint all over the head of one of the actors.

The first time I… realized I had done something important for myself (and for others) was when I made my first experimental film in 8mm at the age of 18. It was called "Dimensioni" and lasted a full 80 minutes. It won a prize as best first work at Montecatini , which in the 70's was virtually the only festival in Italy for short films and therefore very important.

was tutor to Telemachus and Ulysses entrusted his son to him during the war of Troy.

Niccolò Paganini was my first mentor. This great violin virtuoso, so brilliant, romantic and neurotic, played an important part in my formation and pleasantly occupies a lot of my time even now. I listen to his music, have a huge collection of his cds and records and have also read countless books and essays about him. I liked his attention to detail and technique and also his desire to experiment … all this married to a striking nineteenth century sensibility and, in spite of fragile health, a particular vision of life at once passionate, pessimistic and full of mystery made me identify with him for a long time, above all on account of his avid curiosity as to the latent possibilities of the instrument on which he was experimenting. For him it was the violin, for me the movie camera. And I have amply and aptly thanked him via two kind of "video clips" I made on some of his famous works: "Moto perpetuo" and " Capricci." Both very much ahead of their time and very visionary.

Then came Godard, Jancso, Hitchcock, Sergio Leone, Spielberg… and for a certain period the director Giuseppe Ferrara. After seeing my experimental films, he took a chance on me, even though I was still very young, and let me work as cameraman on two documentaries one of which, "La città del malessere" won the Nastro d'Argento. Then I was first assistant director on his movie "Faccia di spia". He called me his pint-sized Dreyer. As usual he was exaggerating but he believed in me. He also taught me a lot but, as often happens even with the best loved "maestri", we lost touch in this ever more chaotic city of Rome.

Peaks, or rather periods of absolute intensity.

Peak moments of absolute happiness or high drama… Like the time my second film, "Alieno da," won first prize at the Montecatini Film Festival and confirmed the fact that this was the right road for me. I was just twenty.
Or the time when at the première of "Il gatto dagli occhi di giada" ("Cat with the Jade Eyes" or "Watch me when I kill"), the Fiamma theatre in Rome packed with paying customers, the soundtrack - Verdi's " Dies irae " chosen specifically to accompany the death of the old money-lender - all but disappeared at the most dramatic moment. A perforated ulcer indeed.
Or the joy of the moment in Milan when Maurizio Porro introduced me to Lattuada informing him that I was the director of "Solamente nero" ("The Bloodstained Shadow"), a magnificent thriller d'auteur. In those days, the term - "auteur" - still sent shivers of pleasure up my spine.
And then there were the private "peaks" almost always scaled with Marisa: listening to music, playing and singing it, while sailing through Greek waters between heavenly islands.

Passages, or rather turning points, significant changes…

I changed considerably when I realized that in my stubborn quest to be considered an intellectual and committed " auteur " I was not doing justice to myself. What I really liked was telling a story in a particular way ( for example action and suspense ) and the stories didn't have to be exclusively mine. I'm not really cut out for comedy or realism, in fact Barcamenandoci and Mak P 100 are my least favorite movies even if the latter was something of a "myth" for young tv viewers of the 80's. I have found out, albeit somewhat late in the day, that my real "forte" is the thriller, the mystery film, the 'noir' science fiction. In this sense Blue tornado marks a step forward and a return for me.

Bird's eye view.

Looking down from on high, I see my life either as an open sea dotted with lighthouses, islands and archipelagoes and I'm making my way through them, sometimes slowly in a sailing boat, at other times with the short sharp spurts of a motorboat; or as an immense range of land marked by an endless railway line on which a train is travelling. I'm the engine driver but sometimes I switch to automatic pilot and let myself be taken through cities I don't want to visit and stop at deserted and boring stations.
The islands are my five movies for the cinema, the lighthouses are the films and "shorts" I made as a youth, the archipelagoes the documentaries and tv commercials ( I no longer remember just how many); the slowness of the sailboat is the lackadaisical way I refused to be caught up in (or swept away by) the mundane world of socialising and "getting to know the right people." Consequently I gave in to the 'comfort' and certainty of documentary films rather than the uncertainty and uneasy compromise of tv fiction. The spurts are those moments when I realized I had to "do something " if I wanted to return to the cinema screen. Today, November 2004, being one of those moments, I have "turned on the ignition" again and am ready to go. The automatic pilot I have actually used very little as nothing in my life has come from other people and nobody has taken me by the hand and made things easy for me. Every film I've made has been an uphill battle. I'm sure the next will be too.

What I would like to have done.

Make films like "Ben Hur," "Once Upon A Time In America" or "Apocalypse Now." As a child I devoured adventure films, war films and westerns. Those are the kind of movies I'd like to have made: highly spectacular but intelligent action films. But even though such films are financially out of the question in Italy and therefore impossible to produce, I still managed to find a way to realize my ambitions and exercise my professional capabilities in total autonomy. In fact…â

What I did and what I do.

à…In 1973, while I was doing my military service in the film center of the Ministry of Defense, I made a long-short (50') called "Twenty Four Months". This won first prize at the international film festival of documentary films dealing with the technical expertise of the armed forces (Mifed '74). Since then I have been in the position to initiate a steady collaboration with the Aeronautic and Marine authorities and realize on a small scale "great" spectacular films with impressive means at my disposal. I have directed and coordinated sequences with hundreds of men and ships, helicopters, submersible, aircraft and armoured tanks. I have flown on jets of every type, spent hundreds of hours in helicopters and been 300 metres deep in submersibles. A large part of these films were conceived as actual action films and had fictitious plots and were a far cry from the usual documentary film. And all this without being in Hollywood.

What I'm going to do when I "grow up"?
Return to the thriller, absolutely and categorically.

I feel my career is at a turning point. Documentaries are all very well and good; the same goes for advertising but the cinema is something else and nothing can take the place of the magic of a film set or of a story unfolding on the "silver screen." That's why I'm putting all my energies into realizing my noir-thriller which by hook or by crook I firmly intend to do. Marisa and I have just finished writing it:
"IL TARLO DEL MALE" (loosely translated The Worm of Evil)
It's a compelling story of victims and persecutors, of parents and children, of indifference and incommunicability. It's a film that inspires and urges me to get back on the bandwagon. I know it's not going to be easy given the current climate and the perpetual crisis of our cinema here in Italy but I intend to "lean" on an independent producer and film it digitally.


Obviously, my aim is not to make a mint of money but solely and exclusively to make my COMEBACK, one way or another, to the cinema. Do you agree? Thank you for staying with me so far. Ciao.


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