A story of intertwining lives, of a thousand streams of emotions, playing war while actual bombs fall from the sky. A story about friendship, about a childhood that is over too soon. Adult children and ‘grown-ups’ play with terror.
A story of intertwining lives, of a thousand streams of emotions, playing war while actual bombs fall from the sky. A story about friendship, about a childhood that is over too soon. Adult children and ‘grown-ups’ play with terror. And when credits roll, it becomes clear: it is the story of Claudio Bisio, who bets, dares, tells his story, with ‘L’ultima volta che siamo stati bambini‘.
66 years old. This is the number that marks the beginning of the third age for Claudio Bisio, who nevertheless promises that “the child inside me is still very much alive”. Former TV presenter, then actor and comedian. But the turning point of the new phase of his life – not only professionally – is his directorial debut with ‘L’ultima volta che siamo stati bambini’, the opening preview of the Giffoni Film Festival, in Italian cinemas from October 12. For Bisio, this is the age of courage, of the right moment to challenge himself in a genre he has tackled only a few times in his career.
The young leads Carlotta De Angelis, Vincenzo Sebastiani, Alessio di Domenicantonio and Lorenzo McGovern Ziani were tenderly and protectively ‘escorted’ into the director’s arms, as they entered the press room during the rush of photographers. Their glances dreamy and complicit. With Bisio it is understanding, genuine and sincere. It is admiration. Even in front of the camera, the director assists and ‘assigns’ questions to the young actors, suggests, accompanies, builds memories, and immediately the faces and expressions of the young people soften, relax; it is the invisible thread of trust between director and actors, which is strong, extraordinarily human, as between a father and his children. Bisio’s voice reveals what true pride is: “They are actors, not children!”
“L’ultima volta che siamo stati bambini” was born from a dawning of Claudio Bisio, after reading the book of the same name by Fabio Bartolomei. “I became so passionate about this project, together with my partners and Medusa. The first challenge was, of course, to find the right director. And at the fourth meeting… they suggested my name. I accepted, yes, but with some reservations. I would only do the film if I found the right children. And I found them. So I said yes, I’ll do it.”At this point, the four kids’ gazes light up. Bisio confirms, however, that his first attempt at directing was an arduous challenge, as he had to entrust to only four children the leading roles – “At first it was difficult to make myself clear and make my collaborators understand how I had envisioned the film. But the outcome was beautiful and the journey exhilarating: “A journey, an adventure, a fairy tale. The right film. The story I wanted to tell”, the director confirms.
On set Bisio is approachable and open. “He gave us the freedom to express ourselves on the set, we improvised a lot and had fun with him. He helped us with the most complicated scenes, but he never forgot to play with us,’ says young actor Lorenzo McGovern Ziani. And the play, the banter, the youthfulness, all this is found in the words of the very young Carlotta De Leonardis, 11 years old, the youngest of the group, who explains in an innocent voice her favourite scene: “When I get on the steam train… but not when they touch my bottom!”. Bisio’s work was also commendable in the choice of actors, as Vincenzo Sebastiani points out: ‘Italo, the character I play, is very similar to me. I like to be a leader, a guide, even in my group of friends’. And the director also explains that the boy, a budding rugby player, has an innate tendency to teamwork, which motivated him in the casting. Among the four young actors, the most experienced is Alessio di Domenicantonio, having already worked with Matteo Garrone. It is to him that Bisio attributes the funniest memory on set: ‘I had to shoot a scene while we were playing football, and I feinted. Cut! In 1943, they were no feints … let’s say Cristiano Ronaldo copied me!”
The roar of applause from the Truffaut Hall echoes in the credits. It is a sign that Bisio’s first directorial effort is a success. The Giffoners’ moist irises say it, the appreciation and laughter during the screening confirm it. Above all, the tears – from those who can not stop getting emotional in a cinema hall – confirm it. “L’ultima volta che siamo stati bambini” confirms the Truffaut rule “Giffoni is the most necessary festival”.