Verdone and the Importance of being yourself: “If you don’t understand the world of youth, you can’t tell true stories”

A large crowd waited under the scorching sun, in front of the #Giffoni53 Blue Carpet, hoping for a selfie or an autograph. First at the photocall, and then a packed Sala Truffaut, Carlo Verdone, Ludovica Martino and Sangiovanni brought their energy on and off the stage. “Vita da Carlo” is also made of encounters and beauty in the eyes of the Giffoners, curious to discover and learn about the professional and personal lives of the three artists. “We are truly proud to be here – Verdone began – young people are the future of our country, and we must take great care of them and their expectations. What we can do is praise them and learn as much as we can from them. They give me energy, and I give them mine. If you don’t understand their world, you can’t tell real stories”. Many the friends in the second season of the series, including the two young artists: “They are two young individuals who have given me a lot of satisfaction (Verdone referred to Ludovica Martino and Sangiovanni), serious, disciplined, and full of enthusiasm. If the series turned out well, it’s also thanks to them. We must give credit to the young”. As well as the anecdotes shared – on the moments when the series was filmed – those present in the room received a small gift: a “spoiler” clip of the second season of the series, airing from September 15th on Paramount+. Sangiovanni will portray a young Verdone: “Playing Carlo Verdone? I am honored to have done it; it was fun. Young Carlo shares some emotions that Sangiovanni experiences every day. I felt close to that character; it was beautiful”. For Ludovica Martino it was unexpected: “I never expected Carlo Verdone to choose me to be part of something he created. It was out of reach for me. When he called me, it was crazy, and I truly felt grateful and emotional. I hope it brings some luck to me as it did with the other actresses he worked with”. Plenty of advice for those entering the world of cinema and art: “I have been a keen observer of reality, different types, characters. Going into detail, turning a flaw into a major aspect in a film, delving deep. From the voice, I would identify the character’s type and build it that way. Starting from the psychology, which requires sensitivity. I frequented many shops and artisans in my neighbourhood and listened to many stories, which helped me a lot. If you go and meet a world of working-class people that you may not know much about you will gain insight into their lives”. The importance of pursuing goals and dreams without abandoning the “child” within each person and, above all, one’s own identity and truth despite fiction: “Even in mature age, you must always have a small dream. What you hope will happen won’t and what you don’t expect, will happen. Life is always like that. There will be moments of joy like there won’t. Life is made of contrasts but you must always have a dream. I dream of doing something different in my work, perhaps with risk of having a small audience. But only then I can say that I have shown a piece of my soul that others do not know. My books represent and say a lot about me. It was also an act of courage to portray myself in the series; I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. I am fragile, weak, anxious, I am funny but I am true that way. An actor starts by taking inspiration from others”. A jury asked young Ludovica and Sangiovanni what they learned from Verdone: “Carlo is a very generous director and actor. He devotes himself to the actors, puts them above all. He allows you to work by listening sincerely – said Martino – so that a beautiful magic is created with him. He wanted everything to be genuine and not overly technical, he wanted us to focus on the emotions of that moment. He taught us so much, even just watching him work”. Sangiovanni concluded: “He is exemplary because maintaining such passion is complicated and passing it on to others is difficult. Everything was very spontaneous with him; I felt at ease with a series that talks about life and emotions”. Verdone affirmed: “the more time passes, the more I try to be myself, leaving behind the characters. The mask falls at some point. You must move forward without overthinking it. Terrorizing actors only makes them lose their way and it’s a wrong way of directing. You have to create a beautiful atmosphere, without instilling fear. It takes a lot of patience, so to receive all the talent in return”. Verdone also looked back at the early steps of his career when his “luck” was acting in front of a single spectator, a theatre critic. On the Hollywood actors’ strike: “I agree with them, it’s not right. Artificial intelligence is the death of arthouse cinema. It’s not fair. This strike is sacred. If artificial intelligence has to write the screenplay, we’re not in it, it just can’t be the end of our work, the end of art, music and cinema”. The meeting in the Sala Truffaut concluded with the presentation of the #specialaward and a tribute video for Verdone, showcasing scenes from the countless films of his career. “You are an inspiration to all #giffoners, – the video said – we are proud to have you here and we can’t wait to see the second season of your series”.

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