In an interview with Arianna Prevedello, Marco Bellocchio talked about his experimental film Sorelle Mai. Already having been shown at Venice (out of competition) it has been relegated to the art houses, even in Italy, and probably will never be seen by many.
Prevedello called it Bellocchio’s “bitter fruit, however authentic” from a summer workshop that he’s been offering for the last 10 years for young, aspiring filmmakers. They stage performances like Chechov’s “In Passion Week” and also a ghost from Bellocchio’s past, “I Pugni in Tasca” – Fists in His Pocket, which Prevedello called “one of Italy’s most intense stories of suffering in the history of Italian cinema” – a bold statement for those of us who have seen Italian movies like “The Bicycle Thief”.
This “touching and highly personal” story is about the feelings that complicate a man’s existence, and though it is not a documentary, “it captures reality”. As Prevedello puts it – “almost 50 years after (Fists in his pocket) and without the fists.
Bellocchio said that in his workshops he always had what he needed for technical exercises and worked with what was available to them in it. He was interested in doing something real with the young filmmakers and he didn’t want to do it in a cold and detached way. His involvement in the project was extremely important to Bellocchio, especially in dealing with the characters, who were his family and friends. He says that it is not autobiographical but he uses the form of an autobiography to do something else. And that it is not by accident the double meaning, that the sisters in the film call each other “Mai” (never) and not “Bellocchio”.
When asked about his feeling of the family, 50 years after “Fists in His Pocket” (a movie that certainly showed us the worst of families) , Bellocchio seems to have softened a bit. He says that there are good families and there are bad families and it doesn’t make sense to make generalizations because “the family as an institution” has no real value”. He said that 50 years ago parents suffocated their children and there was a need to break away from a hypocrisy that existed in the family, but that there is a return to the family these days that he seems to view as positive. He doesn’t agree that the family is always “sacred”, and that some families are criminal, some are pathological, and some are healthy.
We live in a world in which art will disappear if we don’t seek it out. If no one goes to the opera and ballet, the opera and ballet companies will disappear. If no one appreciate’s the work of men like Marco Bellocchio, young filmmakers will have little motivation to continue to try.
I think that even without subtitles in this trailer you can get some idea of the genius and affection that went into the making of “Sorelle Mai.”