Fourth floor of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes. On the terrace, a very large covered space although with a small exterior extension and with views of the sea, Nanni Moretti (Brunico, 67 years old) hides behind a screen while she waits for the journalists. And today, as he demonstrated at the morning press conference, he is in a good mood. That is news. Either because of the triumph last night of the Italian soccer team in the Eurocup, or because you have read the reviews about your film, Three floors, projected just before the sports final. But Moretti has never been a football fan, and he confesses that he no longer listens to what they say about his work. “Before I read everything; now I buy two newspapers at the kiosk, and that’s it. Many years of work can be destroyed in a few lines; too unbalanced, right? ”he muses. However, Three floors —His first film based on a novel and not on an original script— has been very well received by almost all the world’s critics (except part of the French one) and Moretti knows it. He could get his second Palme d’Or after Son’s room, and it is also in Cannes, the Sangri-La for a lover of movie theaters. “I cannot live without going to a room. And I’m not saying it as a producer, screenwriter, actor or director, but as a spectator. I feel the same impulse as four decades ago ”, he says passionately. Not surprisingly, he even owns one in his adopted Rome: the New Sacher.
That is why, before four European journalists, he begins with his usual messianic tone: “I asked my producers not to tell me the figures offered by Amazon, Disney, Netflix or any other platform for my work. I wanted to wait until the rooms opened. And I say it, I repeat, from my point of view as a spectator. In Italy, I don’t know in other countries, there is a clear danger that a producer will sell your work to a platform. They fill their pockets with money, and this brings us to a crossroads: either we make those films photocopied from the platforms that premiere at the same time with paranoid control all over the world or we fight against their dictatorship, betting on returning to a personal cinema born of the collaboration between scriptwriters and directors and designed for theaters ”. Moretti starts strong, who raises the tone. “I am not afraid for the future of theaters, because I am one of the many who enjoy walking to a cinema, and I know it because I own one. It was the worst of the confinement. Going to a movie theater is part of my life ”.
I love having made such a little Morettian film
Three floors it is the first adaptation in Moretti’s career. He assures that he loved the novel by the Israeli Eshkol Nevo, although the structure and ending of a book that takes place in Tel Aviv, and whose action now takes place in Rome, has changed. “In the novel, also divided into three parts, the families do not intersect as in the film, in which the division is made by time jumps of five years in each chapter,” he describes. “Yes we have kept the characters.” What has changed in Three floors is the absence of the usual irony in his cinema: there is nothing more to remember Mass is over (1985), Palombella red (1989), Expensive Diary (1993) the Pope (2011).
“I have always seen my filmography as different chapters of the same novel. Suddenly, Three floors, with its dramatic dryness, it seemed to me out of that book. And I don’t know if it will stay there or if it will be a book chapter with a new Moretti. No idea, what I do know is that the next one will be a comedy. ” Because in this film he talks “of universal things, of the choices we make as parents, of actions that cause repercussions, of what it means to assume responsibilities.” And he starts laughing: “I love having made such a non-Morettian film. So far for me the shootings were exhausting. Physically and psychically. For the amount of equipment that depended on me. That’s why editing freed me, I only worked with another person. This one, on the other hand, has been wonderful ”.
Out of sheer dryness, sometimes it seems that the plot twists in its suffering load, that too many strange things happen in the neighboring families that reside in that three-story building. “I think it is a movie close to life. The men in the film are stubborn, stubborn, they believe they are right, locked into the role they play in each family; women fight to improve human relationships, they are the ones who open themselves to the future ”, she assures. And is it the same in real life? “Certain. I do not want to theorize about it, or generalize, but yes ”.
“We are part of a community”
Three floors it was filmed and finished before covid-19 was born. The end of the film, in which the remaining neighbors go out to enjoy a milonga danced by dozens of couples, the commitment to the exterior, is now prophetic. “Suddenly, it recovers the present time. I wanted to send a clear message: we cannot live without understanding that we are part of a community, and without facing the future. We also need joy and redemption ”. And he hopes that the public understands that he is repelled by communicating “with them through sadism.” Haneke? “I didn’t say it, I didn’t say it,” he exclaims, smiling with his hands up. And who decided that he himself would play the judge, dry, inflexible, defender of justice? Enjoy the irony: “The other scriptwriters, because the magistrate lives on the top floor. So I would be the superego, the man in charge of everything ”.
The filmmaker shows his happiness for Italy’s triumph in soccer, “because it was done by a team without divas, like the one who made this film.” But that is not his favorite sport. “As a teenager I competed in water polo, and got to be in the youth national team.” And he lists: “Now I do tennis, bicycle, which is very boring, some sit-ups when I get home, pilates from the back and I have started to try paddle tennis, although I will not give up tennis.” Moretti, he remembers, lived in confinement in a small mansion of, also, three floors. “Really, it was a coincidence. It is small, each floor has an apartment. I like my neighborhood because it is quiet, it does not look to the past but to the future. But I will never be able to move to the country, I am an urbanite ”.