Tinto Brass: «Stefania Sandrelli? He was shameless. When it comes to sex in Italy, we are still bigots … “



In his autobiography Free passion (Marsilio)written with his wife Caterina Varzi, Tinto Brass sums up the importance of being an artist:Eros is liberation, rejection of hypocrisy as a profession and respect for the right and left, liberation from the arrogance of power, rebellion against fear that quenches dreams and dreams takes away hope ”. The protagonist of the exhibition is an anarchist, libertarian, passionate, constantly discussed and censored, Italian master of eros Brass amour mon(from May 21 to June 12) founded in Villa Bottini, Lucca for the Photolux Festival, whose theme this year is love. Born from an idea by Fabio Macaluso, curated by Caterina Varzi, Enrico Stefanelli, Chiara Ruberti, Francesco Colombelli and Rica Cerbarano, the exhibition consists of 120 photographs and unpublished documents (such as scripts, sketches of scenery and costumes, Polaroid shows, posters, letters) all from Brass’s private archive. A path that will lead to contact with the most interesting aspects of his work, but also to discovering relationships with actors and private life.

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Tinto Brass, photos presented at the Photolux festival


Alberto Moravia has been following his cinema with great interest for years, calling it a “sex ideologist”, an artist who tries to eliminate guilt in order to achieve an innocent sex. Do you agree with this definition?

«If Moravia said so! The fact that he followed me closely implies an affinity. During our long conversations, I had a strong feeling that for him eroticism is also the key to interpreting reality ».

Venice and Paris are two places that were very important in the years of its formation, both as a man and an artist. Why these two cities?

“I was born in Milan, but I have a deep bond with Venice. I was fed on its culture, history, language and tradition. Despite the irreversible changes it has undergone over time, what remains for me is “sexe femelle d’Europe,” as Apollinaire called it. The importance and significance of my cinema comes largely from my relationship with this intriguing city. Water, light, views and inverted perspectives are the elements that characterize her and are repeated obsessively in my films. At some point, after graduating from the law, I decided to go to Paris. In the late 1950s, the Parisian reality was very much alive. In Cinémathèque Française, where I was in charge of the archives, I met the great documentary filmmaker Ioris Ivens and Roberto Rossellini. From them I learned everything I know about editing and cinema “.

Many divide his career into two phases: the first is more related to the cinema of commitment and the anarchic and radical opposition to power, while the second is the erotic cinema. I find it a stretch: in your first film, Who Works Dies (1963), there is an investigation into sexuality, and what, then, is more “subversive” than sexual freedom and happiness?

Stefania Sandrelli in The Key
Stefania Sandrelli in The Key

“I’ve said it many times. There is no gap in my films between the serious and militant first period and the frivolous and superficial second period. I’ve always been interested in the language. I do not think that my erotic films are of little importance. Eroticism contains social and political criticism that expresses my constant search for freedom on a different level ”.

In the late 1960s, she was adapting A Clockwork Orange, starring Mick Jagger as Alex. Can you tell us something about this never finished project?

“Paramount producers invited me to the US to propose a film adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s novel. I accepted the offer of the American house with the intention of assigning Mick Jagger the role of Alex Delarge. But only if you shoot first ScreamI’ve already been working on. When I returned to Italy, Kubrick was offered the project. However, I do not regret it. Scream it’s a movie that I really care about. Gigi Proietti, in addition to being a hero, also collaborated on writing dialogues with Giancarlo Fusco. And working with Proietti and Tina Aumont, the translator, was a really exciting experience ».

In “The Flying Saucer” (1964) you worked with Monika Vitti. In this film, he has an extremely comical role for her, who in those years was Antonioni’s muse. So it was you, not Monicelli, who discovered this still ineffable tendency?

“I immediately realized Monica’s surprising momentum and gave her the brilliant role of Dolores, the mayor’s wife. The goal was to create a film capable of combining social satire with lustful fantasies, summed up by Monika’s iconic line “Dime porca che mi piase de più”, in response to the poetic rhymes of a lover played by Alberto Sordi. Girl with a gun was made by Monicelli in 1968, four years after my film ».

The “key” in 1983 sets a new turning point in his career and chooses Stefania Sandrelli. Why her?

“Stefania is a great actress and she was even before she played with me. I just stepped back and showed her a sensual load. She was perfect in the lead role. At the audition, she showed up shamelessly and strongly determined to make a film. And then it has one more great advantage. He never disowned me by defending me Key proudly, proud that she showed her friends that she can also play with her butt ».

You, who have been showing and telling about the sexuality of Italians and Italians for decades, how do you see it today? Are there still any taboos? Do you think virtual reality will release sex forever, or on the contrary, will put it to death?

“Even though we’re told the opposite, we’re still bigots. Sex morality has changed very little. And in some respects we turn back. Suffice it to say that even today, if you want to avoid being mocked or violent, you have to hide your sexual orientation. There is no censorship in the imagination and virtual reality is just an extension of the sex experience. It can be addictive and interesting as long as it doesn’t lead to a complete detachment from real sex and dating. No technology can offer the emotion of a real relationship ».

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15 maggio 2022 | 08:02

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