This week we decided to write about an Italian director that with a particular ironic style represents peculiar situations in the Italian lifestyle and just presented his new film “Il Capitale Umano”, a great example of original and smart independent filmmaking. Meet, Paolo Virzì.
He was born in Livorno (Tuscany) and he studied cinematography in Rome. He debuted as a scriptwriter, working for different films that were quite successful. He participated, for instance, at the script of “Tempo di Uccidere” (1990), a French-Italian production and directed by Giuliano Montaldo, with a very young Nicolas Cage playing the role of the main character.
In 1994 he started his career as a director with “La Bella Vita”, film that won important awards on the Italian scene: a David di Donatello and a Nastro d’Argento. The real success was achieved with his film “Ovosodo” in 1997. The film is an exhilarating comedy that takes its name from the poor area of Livorno in which the story is developed. The plot follows the protagonist, Piero Masani, and his crazy acquaintance with a schoolmate from an affluent family, Tommaso. Tommaso wants to keep his wealth hidden from his friends but in fact he has a really well planned future, which is very different from the one of Piero. The reaction of critics and audience was largely positive even if the location plays a central role and the risk was that he could not be totally appreciated on a large scale. With “Ovosodo” Virzì won the Special Jury Award at the Festival of Venice.
His another film to highlight is “Caterina Va in Città” (2003). The focus of this film is Rome and the mixed feelings of the director for the city are pretty clear in the way he painted it on the screen. The main character Caterina moves to the Italian capital from a small town and have to face both stunning beauties and disappointments that Rome can offer.
In 2006 “N (Io e Napoleone)” was released: actors wore vintage costumes and the film explored the link between intellect and power. Paolo Virzì took part, in the same year, in the film “Il Caimano” by Nanni Moretti, about the controversial life of Silvio Berlusconi. After this short experience as an actor, Virzì went back to his career of director and shot “Tutta la Vita Davanti” in 2008. The film had a wide impact both on audience and medias. It is a grotesque comedy that takes place in a call center in which young women work (one of them is played by Sabrina Ferilli that played in Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty” as well). The theme here is the insecurity, not only as far as job is concerned but in the many aspects of human life. The film received numerous and prestigious awards in Italy.
2010 was another lucky year for Paolo Virzì – “La Prima Cosa Bella” that was then released was a huge success. For the shootings of this film Virzì went back to his hometown Livorno where he created a funny comedy that evolves in parallel with a tragic family drama. The film was the candidate for the Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars as Italian Feature. The plot is skillfully built and the main actress, Micaela Ramazzotti (now the wife of Paolo Virzì), performed her character wonderfully.
This year, 2014, “Il Capitale Umano” was released in theatres. It is based on the novel by Stephen Amidon and follows the stories of two different families of the north of Italy. The production for this film was both Italian and French and it has already received good comments in Italy and will be available soon on many European cinemas.
The way Virzì tells his stories is so peculiar and is often called as “Virzì Touch”. The style of each filmmaker is different and everyone can find his own “touch”. ÉCU is ready to support each one of you and to appreciate your own ways of filmmaking!