-Who is Valerio Cecconi?
I am my parents’ child, a child of their ideals, for sure. I’m the result of the environment I grew up in, of the important people I’ve met in my life, the ones who shaped me, like my teacher, Marco Tiburtini. I’m the result of every good or bad deed I’ve done in my life. I’m the outcome of my thoughts. But I am also every one of my ambitions and dreams, the steps I’d like to take. Ultimately, I’m everything I have lived through and everything I’d like to live through too.
-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Filmmakers, but specifically those who managed to destroy my mental barriers. Starting with Sergio Leone; I was 15 when I first saw “A Fistful of Dollars” and I couldn’t believe that an Italian had made such a film. And his extreme close-ups: one of Leone’s extreme close-ups is worth more than quite a few filmmakers’ entire cinematography. Certainly, one of his extreme close-ups is worth more than my entire film. The silences, the sound, the music: they’re masterpieces. In the editing phase, I always think about this phrase: “Remember that a score is never made up of only music, but also ugly noises and deafening silences.”
Another filmmaker who managed to destroy my mental barriers is Scorsese. When I first saw “Raging Bull”, I couldn’t believe that a film could star a fat, cynical, paranoid man. I hardly knew cinema then, and I thought that only a hero could be the protagonist. One of the first film analysis I did was about “Raging Bull”. By analyzing just a few minutes of the editing I was impressed by the sheer amount of work involved. And I discovered a film’s potential, and I understood the huge bulk of skills and tools that a filmmaker can and should use.
When I saw “The Godfather”, I fell in love with the actors. And to this day, the actors are probably the aspect I love the most about films. “The Godfather” is the highest peak in the history of acting. Coppola is a master at directing his actors: by watching his films and his interviews, I try to learn everything I possibly can from him. And his philosophy as a filmmaker and a producer is truly fascinating: risky, without compromise and quite crazy. This mindset of his drove me to always go beyond and made me realise that to be brave is to be wise.
Another filmmaker who made my art emerge was the great Godard. He definitely broke down all my mental barriers. Shortly before I discovered this French genius, cinema was boring me because I thought I had seen everything. But when I discovered him, I said to myself “You don’t know anything yet, friend.”
The sheer arrogance of him, changing the history of cinema through ridiculous budgets: just the thought is staggering. Actually doing it, that’s elegant terrorism. So yes, definitely Jean-Luc Godard.
Then there are other great filmmakers, like QuentinTarantino, Seijun Suzuky, Wong Kar-wai, John Cassavetes, Louis Malle, Stanley Kubrick, Orson Wells, Carol Reed, Billy Wilder, Sergio Corbucci, Enzo G Castellari, Jim Jarmusch, Michail Kalatozov, David Lynch and many others.
-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?
I think that cinema can make society better: it can make people think, it can help people overcome dark moments and create sensory experiences that will last their whole lives through their memories of watching films. This most likely won’t change society in any radical way. In my opinion, in order to actually change society, actions have a bigger influence on real life. And this isn’t only about cinema, but all arts in general: Bob Dylan has improved society, but Mandela is the one who altered it.
-What would you change in the world?
If in a hypothetical universe, for some stupid reason, I was the president of a nation, I’d tell everyone to be more human. I know it’s trite, but it’s the best thing I could say, in my opinion. By being human, not only you can do good, but you can also get something out of it. If I was inhuman, my film would have ended after the first take.
-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?
I can’t say, but I hope it will be in a movie theatre. I have nothing against online platforms, because they gave lots of great artists the opportunity to emerge, and great films were made. The important thing is that movie theatres stay alive, and to do that you’d have to draw the audience there more. These days, there’s quite the excitement for the movie theatre, so I believe that with the right deal the audience has no issue watching a film in a dark room, with no pause-press option.