Interview with Silvio Soldini, Director of For Other Eyes and Come Undone
Only a minute into a conversation with Silvio Soldini and you’ll find yourself in awe at the depths of his thoughtfulness of the world around us. Soldini is proof that we can all find inspiration anywhere, even from the seemingly mundane routines of everyday life. The Italian film director will be premiering his documentary film, Per Altri Occhi (For Other Eyes), at the Italian Contemporary Film Festival’s (ICFF’s) closing night on July 6. The idea for the film came three years ago when Soldini went to see a therapist. It caught him by surprise when he discovered his therapist was blind and he became instantly fascinated and intrigued.
“My therapist was the first blind person I had ever met. He and I began talking about everyday things he dealt with as a blind person, and things he participated in, like sports,” said Soldini. “Through him, I met other blind people and learned more about their lives. I was able to make a film about great people who approach life in a positive way despite the difficulties they face everyday.”
Soldini takes great pride in his Italian heritage. A native of Milan, he believes that although Italian culture is all over the place, it can only ever truly be found inside the Italian people. With the country’s economic difficulties and political controversies, Soldini fears for the diminishing value of culture with the Italian people.
“I don’t want the richness of Italy’s very old culture to blow away,” said Soldini. “Every time there is scandal with politicians or the government, it makes me feel like part of the culture died. It is difficult.”
Since Soldini’s emergence as a director, he has been constantly praised for his realistic depictions of everyday Italian life. While most modern Hollywood films portray a glamorous Italy, Soldini shares an honest look into the trials and tribulations of modern Italian culture through his films.
Cosa voglio di più (Come Undone), which screen together with For Other Eyes on ICFF’s closing night, focuses on middle-class Italy. The film captures a steamy love affair between Anna (Alba Rohrwacher) and Alessio (Giuseppe Battiston), who have seemingly comfortable lives at first glance. Soldini’s inspiration for this film came from his own personal life when a friend wanted to talk to him about a situation that was happening in his life.
“A week later, I called that friend and asked if I could make a film about it,” said Soldini. “Come Undone is a way to talk about Italian society and this mounting crisis the people are dealing with. You will notice the importance of family throughout the film.”
Third time’s a charm when it comes to Silvio Soldini’s relationship with Toronto. He hopes to finally get a chance to visit Niagara Falls since this is his third time back in the area. Soldini will also be honoured at the closing ceremony with the ICFF’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the world of Italian cinema.
“Receiving this award from the ICFF has allowed me to be more thoughtful of my future as a director,” said Soldini. “I’m not so old. I still want to go deeper with my films.”