Wondering why Italian movies have been so gorgeous lately? Two Words: Vladan Radovic.
A few weeks ago I watched a movie that, to be honest, I wasn’t crazy about it (I won’t say which one). The plot was boring and the acting a little sleepy, but even so it was BEAUTIFUL, and fast forwarding through any of it never crossed my mind. I was mesmerized by the dreamy, graceful, and a little bit trippy cinematography, so checking the credits later I wasn’t surprised; the Director of Photography was none other than my favorite, Vladan Radovic.
Cinematographer Vladan Radovic, originally from Sarajevo, is responsible for a good portion of the success of half of the best movies in the last few years, like Vergine Giurata (Sworn Virgin), Anime Nere (Black Souls), Smetto Quando Voglio (I Can Quit Whenever I Want), and Paolo Virzì’s newest La Pazza Gioia (Like Crazy). It stars Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Micaela Ramazzotti as women who meet as patients at, and escape from a mental institution.
La Pazza Gioia premiered this year at Cannes and the reviewers have been raving about it ( i.e. rubbing it in my face since I haven’t had a chance to see it yet.) Variety’s Jay Weissberg called it, “A terrific comedy-drama … that avoids the pitfalls such a scenario could encounter and boasts delicious dialogue with a rare sense of balance.” Screen Dailey’s Lisa Nesselson said,”The film’s freewheeling energy is as appealing as its developments are unpredictable.”
I wanted to know more about it, specifically if it had a chance of making it to the US, so I asked Vladan to fill me in.
“I fell in love right away with the film as soon as I read the script,” he told me. “The cinematography follows characters and their constant mood changes throughout the film, but also through the scenes, and ultimately even in a single shot. There was one time that I invisibly changed the light during the shot because the character changed emotions while walking. I changed the light from warm to cold to follow his state of mind.”
“There are are several scenes in the film where Paolo wanted to shoot in light that’s particularly special because it doesn’t last very long, for example, the scenes at sunrise and also the really long scene at sunset. For me it was a cool challenge and I planned my work to accomodate this requirement of direction that brought a special atmosphere to the film. We liked so many of the scenes we shot at dawn so much that we switched them with a lot of the daytime scenes and we did it knowing that we’d be facing practical problems for the implementation.”
“In La Pazza Gioia Paolo deals with a universal theme about being human and how living the life of a damaged person is like living a life “showing your cards”, he said. “The best thing about the film is that the public really likes it and it was a big success at Cannes with critics and journalists. Everybody likes it! The film will surely be released in the United States and I hope that it will be loved by the American public as well.”
I first met Vladan when he was in New York promoting his film Anime Nere (Black Souls), named the David di Donatello film of the year in 2015.
WATCH ANIME NERE on
Vladan told me about making director Francesco Munzi’s vision a reality. “He wanted one part of the actors faces always in a shadow, like a Caravaggio painting.”
“He wanted it to look like a Van Gogh painting. (It does!) and that requires totally different filters and light than other films that I had worked on.”
What’s next for 45-year-old Vladan?
“I’ve been working with an agency in America (Artistry) and the plan is to begin working as soon as possible in the most important film industry in the world!” he told me, and that, is good news for us all.
We’ll keep you posted about the release of La Pazza Gioia in the US.