This is the kind of stuff I live for, sharing a nice movie moment and a collective smile with an audience at the Venice Film Festival. At the premiere of Roan Johnson’s fun comedy, Piuma, I got one of those really nice movie moments.
It’s the story of Cate (Blu Yoshimi) and her boyfriend Ferro (Luigi Fedele) maneuvering through nine months of teenage pregnancy. By the end of the film when the emotional stuff started to go down, I could feel us all growing closer.
As the consistently goofy Ferro and his (already at this young age) world-weary girlfriend Cate settle unrealistically into their situation, they set off an explosion that cause never-ending shock waves for Ferro’s long-suffering parents. Ferro hasn’t been the easiest child, and this is just one more thing for them to have to deal with; they don’t even seem very surprised (except when wondering how their son got a nice girl like Cate.)
Blu, a child star who played Nanni Moretti’s daughter in Caos Calmo, is just 19, setting out on a brilliant grown-up career, and I got a chance to ask her about what it was like to be young, talented, the world her oyster.
I was at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of Piuma and I laughed throughout the whole film, and left with a big smile on my face!
First of all, what was it like to be at Venice, in the Sala Grande, with all those people laughing and cheering? Did it feel like a dream? What were you thinking when people were laughing and applauding throughout the film, and at the end, when everyone was cheering?
I love this first question! I loved the Venice Film Festival this year. I think very courageous choices were made and we, the cast and crew of “Piuma” are the proof of that. It’s unusual that a comedy like this gets accepted in competition at the festival but we were there to proof that “the heart is what counts”. In fact, going to Venice is itself a big emotion, but going to Venice with “Piuma” has even a better feeling because personally I consider it an important achievement after hard efforts in these past years and it was a special movie for all those who worked in it… there is something magical about it! The red carpet brought me back to that magic. Walking there on the notes of Lorenzo Tomio’s (Italian composer) is one of the happiest experience I recall. A movie in the Sala Grande never looked so beautiful! I cried more than ever and at the same time I was deeply happy. It felt like everybody in that room was feeling the same things…
How did it feel to play a pregnant teenager? What do you think the movie says to teenagers about sex and responsibility?
This is one of the roles I always wanted to do. I was fond of Cate, Piuma and the story from the beginning because it reminded me a lot of my story with my mum (Magnificent Italian actress Lidia Vitale). I also was an unexpected child and with this movie I could live the same experience from the opposite point of view and appreciate even more the work my mum has done. In the end I made a lot of researches about pregnancy to make sure to bring the more truth I could. Those are things that happen and it’s a matter of respect to bring out the reality of the facts.
More than teaching about sex, I think Piuma can teach to people of all ages what it means to take responsibility. When something unexpected occurs it brings out the worst in us and it can be an occasion to confront ourselves.
What do you want the audience to take from Piuma? Is there a message that is important to you?
What I really hope Piuma can give is an example. Not about pregnancy, but about how to face problems when they come…because they arrive and we can either fall apart or fly up as a feather so that we can see the whole view and understand that besides the obstacle we see in front of us, there is much more. That will allow us to smile and continue with another spirit.
The cast seems to be like a real family. Did it feel like that to you? What is Roan like as a director?
Family is the appropriate name for those who worked on Piuma. Starting from Luigi ( As Ferro) that besides a great collegue is now a big friend of mine, then Francesco Colella ( as Alfredo, my dad) that I deeply esteem as an artist and with all the others there was a deep harmony. Michela Cescon (Ferro’s mum) for example was for me an important female figure able to understand me without talking. This harmony was extended with all Piuma’s family. Before being actors, writers, technicians, we were all humans working hard towards something meaningful and for this I thank Roan for having being able to form such a team!
Was Caos Calmo (Quiet Chaos) your first film? How did you get started? What is it like to be a child star in Italy? It seems very difficult in the USA – is it the same in Italy?
Quiet Chaos was the first movie for the big screen. It was an amazing experience. Since I mainly grew up with my mum Lidia Vitale who is herself a great and known actress in Italy, I always wanted to be an actress. I think being an artist is alwasy very difficult, no matter where you live. Especially if you are a woman ahahah. We have some serious issues in the cultural side of our country even though things are going much better. It wasn’t and it’s not always easy to remain hooked to my dream but it’s worth it and I am never going to give up!