This weeks spotlight focuses on a – despite her last name – young Italian writer and director, whose latest film will open in French theatres next week.
LE MERAVIGLIE (The wonders / Les marvelleis) is not new to the French public. Last year, Rohrwacher was the first Italian woman to win a Cannes Grand Prix with this piece. “It is a profound and spiritual movie, full of poetry, so well acted and structured that, in the end, some were deeply moved” – said Jane Campion, head of the Cannes jury. “But it is Alice Rohrwacher’s work as a whole that can touch your heart.”
A vision that takes its origins from multidisciplinary experience that the young director has developed during the years. Born in 1981, under the Tuscan sun of Fiesoli, Rohrwacher studied literature and philosophy, and she then mastered in narrative techniques and documentaries screenplay. She started her career in the music and documentary worlds, working both as an editor and musician for theatre. She is a writer for Pierpaolo Giarolo, and in 2006 she had her first experience as a director with a 7 minutes episode in an Italian collective-documentary, CHECOSATIMANCA: five different stories set in five different parts of Italy that represent the present state of the Country.
Rohrwacher moved then from documentaries and shorts to her first drama feature, CORPO CELESTE (2011). This story of adolescence and growth in a southern-Italian city, where a girl tries to find her place confronting the Catholic morality and the city diffidence, it gained recognition in various film festivals such as Sundance, Cannes and David di Donatello Awards.
A mix of these topics come together in her last work, LE MERAVIGLIE. The director went back to her origins, setting the movie in a bucolic boarder area of central Italy, where people dirty their hands working the land, and the family business is centered around apiculture, which is also the actual job of Alice’s German father – in the movie’s credits you can read a score to Apicoltura Rohrwacher.
“It is not my family history – says Alice – but obviously there is a lot of personal and a lot of unknown”. It’s a personal matter for sure: for example, her older sister, actress Alba Rohrwacher, stars in the movie along with Sam Louwyck and Monica Bellucci, in her first professional experience with Alice. And Rohrwacher’s past in the documentary genre emerges as well in the feature, with a natural and delicate touch in describing everyday reality.
But LE MERAVIGLIE is not a tale of Italian countryside: Alice keeps exploring and investigating the true identities of characters and places in her cinematographic works. Beyond the false myth of the little rural villages always perceived as pure and inalterable, almost out of time, there is a hidden reality, a sort of prison for non-stereotyped individuals.
We can’t wait to see the next step of Rohrwacher’s artistic research, we are hoping she will keep writing and producing indie wonders.