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ICFF Interview: Director Marco Turco talks about L`Oriana and Oriana Fallaci


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Making biopic films about famous people, be it an activist, or an actor, musician, or painter, is never an easy task. This is why hearing about Marco Turco`s, L`Oriana peaked my interest, about the subject, and also the person whose life is highlighted in this film. After reading a short bio of Oriana Fallaci, and her famous article, Anger and Pride written after 9/11, I found myself more intrigued than ever, with the hope that Turco would manage to tell her life story as profoundly as possible. After seeing L`Oriana, I must say, there was no better way to make this film than the way Turco did – deep and touching. Read full review here:

During ICFF, Marco Turco found a minute to talk to me about his film L`Oriana, Oriana Fallaci and of course, Vittoria Puccini who portrays Oriana Fallaci.

MOVIEMOVESME: Oriana Fallaci’s life was full of events that was kind of hard to follow. How did you manage to connect all the little pieces to make this film?

Marco Turco: We tried to capture the most salient moments in Oriana Fallaci’s personality and therefore the most salient moments in the story. We tried to tell the great history of Oriana Fallaci, which is the great history of her personality and the moments that she lived through history with a capital H. Her story, which is a very human story, very emotional story, Oriana Fallaci always lived her public life and her professional life in a very public manner. And she had great passions, the two passions were her work and her emotions and they were closely intertwined. So we tried to tell a story that combined these two in our film.

MOVIEMOVESME: Can you talk about the process of filming, for instance there was a scene that depicted Karachi, Pakistan but as far as I know the film was entirely filmed in Italy?

Marco Turco: No, we filmed some scenes in Vietnam, scenes that were set in Greece were filmed in Greece. Some of the scenes that were set in Iran and Karachi were both filmed in Tunisia. Those were the exterior shots. The interior shots were filmed in a palace that was built by an expert, a lover of oriental culture and architecture. He built it in the beginning of the 20th century in Tuscany. So we filmed inside there for the shots that were set in the Karachi hotel. It looks like a scene from Thousand And One Nights.

MOVIEMOVESME: In the beginning of the film we see that Oriana Fallaci is very tough. She lets the man go and said, “I won’t let anyone to even sleep on my bed”. So in many other ways her decision was very feminine and wouldn’t allow anyone to get close to her. Later on, we see that she changes. Could you talk about that?

Marco Turco: Oriana Fallaci, in her relations was quite modest. She wasn’t a tender person at all. She was a passionate woman and she wrote all about her passions in her books, that’s what her books are. The book called “A Man” is about her love relationship with Panagoulis. She was always tough and she became tougher and tougher as time went by from the result of her disappointments in life as a result of the difficulties she had with Italy, as a result of her cancer which prevented her from continuing to work and that was the thing that made her suffer the most. She was intolerant with people who were wishwashy, people who are careless, people who are not very serious, who are not very professional. So in the end she became exasperating, she became difficult to get along with.

MOVIEMOVESME: I was very fascinated seeing Vittoria Puccini’s performance. She performed extremely well and in some scenes it was very emotional. I would just like to know if you knew that Vittoria Puccini is going to play Oriana Fallaci?

Marco Turco: This is the third film I’ve made with Vittoria Puccini. The previous project she was the main character in a story that was about prostitution houses, she was a madam for prostitutes, hookers and that was a very tough role that required a lot of experience. And immediately when the project was proposed to me, I thought of Oriana Fallaci and I thought of Vittoria Puccini. They’re both from Florence, have certain similarities but I still had several auditions with many other actresses. But then in the end, Vittoria was the one who emerged as the best candidate after all this.

MOVIEMOVESME: Oriana Fallaci’s famous article Anger and Pride is where she wrote about 9/11. When the incident happened, she was sitting by a window and looking outside. You have depicted this scene in your film. Can you talk about this process of not just filming but also researching about Oriana Fallaci’s perspective regarding the incident which made her to get back to writing?

Marco Turco: It’s Oriana Fallaci herself who gives an answer to this because the words that she pronounces in the film, that Puccini said in the film are the words from the beginning of her article which was actually written a few days after 9/11. It was the director, the Chief Editor of the entire Italian newspaper who asked her to write about these events. She didn’t want to write, in fact she hadn’t written for years, and especially did not want to write for an Italian newspaper. She was writing a book about her family and in the TV version there is a scene with the young journalists, where they talk about her promise not to write. The fact was she didn’t want to write but the war was brought to her doorstep. The idea that we have is the shot with Oriana Fallaci looking out the window seeing the two towers. She was so shaken by these events, she felt a duty to answer with her own weapon, which are writing words. She lived in New York of course and she felt American and she felt she had to reply to this wound that she was feeling.

MOVIEMOVESME: Was there any particular reason why Oriana Fallaci didn’t want to write anything for Italian Newspapers?

Marco Turco: First of all, because she felt outside of that milieu, that environment. She did not love Italian newspapers, Italian journalists. She had publicly argued and had feuds with several of them. She had sued some of them for defamation of character. There were several ongoing lawsuits and so she was not comfortable working with them.

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