Kidnapped: the word to the protagonists of Marco Bellocchio’s film in competition at the Cannes Film Festival

There was not only Marco Bellocchio at the Cannes Film Festival to represent the film Abducted in competition. The director Fabrizio Gifuni, Fausto Russo Alesi, Barbara Ronchi, Paolo Pierobon, Leonardo Maltese, Enea Sala accompanied. Here’s what they said about their characters and the dilemmas they each face.

Whether it’s due to a renewed vitality, family happiness or the constant desire to tell stories through images, the fact is that Mark Bellocchio once again he manages to be incisive, direct, non-rhetorical and to speak of religion with lucidity, awareness and no dogmatic intent. This was noticed by many at the seventy-sixth edition of the Cannes Film Festivalabove all those who applauded him for 13 minutes after the official screening of Kidnapped and how many crowded the press conference room complimenting the director.

presenting Kidnapped to Italian journalists, Mark Bellocchio he was keen to say that it is a film of actors, indeed of great actors. Some he has already directed, such as Fabrizio Gifuni, Fausto Russo Alesi, Paolo Pierobon e Barbara Ronchi. Others are their first time with the author de The traitorstarting with the little one Aeneas Salawhich he interprets Edgardo Mortara when I was a child. Six of the performers sat on comfortable white armchairs in the white Italian Pavilion and gladly talked about their characters and the burning issues that one of the three Italian titles in competition deals with.

Kidnapped: the word to the actors of the film

Fabrizio Gifuni is the inquisitor Pier Gaetano Feletti

Former protagonist of Exterior Night in the role of Aldo Moro (and winner of the David di Donatello 2023 for best leading actor), Fabrizio Gifuni interpreta Pier Gaetano Feletti, Dominican inquisitor. It is he who instructs the police to snatch the little one Edgardo Mortara to the family. The actor tried to understand the reasons for the behavior of this rigid and immutable man of faith:

My character obeyed not only the norms of canon law but a superior faith, which makes this story even more terrible and ruthless, because religion stipulated that it was sacrosanct to snatch a child from a mother, a father. And yet with Marco we did a job of subtraction. The Inquisition, in the 19th century, is in fact very different from the medieval Inquisition. For many, the term Inquisition immediately refers to Giordano Bruno, to the terrible trials, to the great atrocities. Here, however, we have an official of the Papal States who applies rules which, however absurd and distant from us they may objectively seem, were the ones that had to be applied. If you didn’t do it, you left the community completely: there was no choice. That’s why we tried to focus on an absence of light from the gaze. I asked myself: what happens intimately to a person who plays that role? Is there ever a moment when you think about the natural order of things? Marco remains a mystery and this makes me repeat once again that the great contemporaneity of Bellocchio’s cinema lies precisely in the total freedom that is left to the spectator, who finds himself carrying out an investigation on human beings. Marco, embracing complexity, fights the simplification of an era in which we are forced every day to put the thumbs down, up, to express an opinion on anything. Returning to Pier Gaetano Feletti, it is as if something were released within this man, so that the body shuts down, becomes cold, because there is no longer a direct connection with emotion.

Paolo Pierobon is Pope Pius IX

Another key character of Kidnapped is Pope Pio IXto whom Edgardo Mortara child and then boy becomes attached quickly. Away from family and lost, he understands that, in order to survive and not let go of emotional pain, he must find his place in the Catholic milieu. In the supreme pontiff he seeks a spiritual guide, a friend and a parent. Pio IX has the face of Paolo Pierobon:

Pius IX is the last Pope-King. When we meet him, the Papal State is crumbling, heading towards the capture of Porta Pia. Pius IX had a very long papacy, which lasted 31 years. I tried to imagine the daily life of this pope, therefore the daily life of a man with a strong fiber, because in the 1800s dying at the age of 85 was truly unusual. And yet Pius IX suffered from epilepsy, so I also concentrated on this battle of his. Then I documented the type of prayer exercises of the religious of the time. They woke up very early, at 5:00, to pray. It was a way to clear his head and make good faith decisions, and even the most heinous decisions were made in good faith, so with such a character, there has to be a reprieve from the actor.

Fausto Russo Alesi is Momolo Mortara, Edgardo’s father

For those who loved Night exterior, Fausto Russo Alesi will always stay Francis Cossigaworried, angry and then saddened by the kidnapping of Aldo Moro. Extraordinary and chameleon-like, the actor was strongly desired by Mark Bellocchio per Kidnapped. His role is to Momolo Mortarathe father of Edgardo.

I really got into this very tragic story for Edgardo’s parents. The goal was to focus on the human aspect of this deprivation of a child. The father tries not to succumb, he is reactive despite the trauma, he tries in every way to get Edgardo back, and this moves me a lot. For the sake of the child, my character questions himself. Unlike his wife and one of his other children, he is willing to compromise, which I think is a very good thing. In the moment in which he is deprived of an essential right, his throwing down his arms seems to me a truly human gesture.

Barbara Ronchi is Marianna Mortara, mother of Edgardo

Barbara Ronchi she also returned from the victory of a David di Donatello for her acting qualities. Best Actress Thanks to September di Giulia Steigerwalt. in Kidnapped plays the mother of Edgardo Mortarawho can’t accept having a child taken away from her:

Marianna Mortara, unlike her husband, somehow sees the possibility of getting out of this situation, as if the time were ripe for such a forced withdrawal to never be repeated. I think it goes from a great initial anger to despair, because deep down she knows that this child will never come home. It’s like she gets it right away. The conversion to the Christian religion in order to get Edgardo back hovers in history, but it is something the mother will never allow herself to do, because if they take away something so important from you, you will only have the dignity of your history, of your origins, of your wedding ring.

Enea Sala is Edgardo as a child

While the cast of Kidnapped tells the experience on the set, the eyes are all for the sweet Aeneas Sala, who has a mischievous look. When she’s his turn to talk about Edgardoamazes everyone by repeating the words spoken by Mark Bellocchio in receiving the David Di Donatello for best director:

I started doing a series of screen tests, and the first time I did it like this, to have fun, but in the end it happened that Bellocchio liked me for my look, but I didn’t do much, but it happened… and I accept it .

Leonardo Maltese is Edgardo young man

To interpret Edgardo Mortara as a young man he was called Leonardo Maltese. A difficult task fell to him, because we will never know if that of his character was a true conversion or not. It was certainly a painful choice, and this suffering, together with uncertainty and an introverted character, led to careful work for the actor:

The character of Edgardo as a young man is very enigmatic, very deep, very tormented precisely because of what he had to go through as a child, so what I had to do was strongly influenced by all the scenes that Aeneas played and by Aeneas’ gaze. So I tried to work on the suffering that this person can experience. We can’t get into his head, we can’t know what was in his soul, what was happening in his brain. We know the facts, we know what happened by birth, the rest escapes us. I have tried to lend myself to this ambiguity, trying however not to give answers or solutions.

Kidnapped arrives today in Italian cinemas distributed by 01 Distribution. The screenplay of the film is by Mark Bellocchio e Susanna Nicchiarelli in collaboration with Edward Albinati e Daniela Ceselli. Freely inspired by the book The Mortar case Of Daniele Scaliseis an IBC movie production, Kavac Film with Rai Cinema.

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