Above and below, life and death, man and nature: face to face with Alice Rohrwacher, who told us about her (wonderful) film, La chimera. Presented in competition at Cannes 2023.
Past and present. Over and under. Material wealth and the search for love, in a tearing void (im)possible to be filled. A film about masculinity, about the sense of the foreigner, and also a film about man in contact with nature, with the earth. Different perspectives, and a nerve center linked (literally) by a red thread. Alice Rohrwacher continues (indeed, strengthens) his extraordinary cinematic journey with The maltpresented in competition a Cannes 2023. The story of an English loner, Arthur (Josh O’Connor), who seems to have diviner powers. Powers exploited by a group of extravagant grave robbers, desecrators of Etruscan tombs.
But Arthur, silent and wrinkled, is torn apart by the absence of his lost love, which he meets again in dreams suspended between wakefulness and sleep. After all, The malt it is a palindrome film, vertical in structure and execution: “In the film, the more you go up, the more you go down. As with trees. The roots go deeper, when the branches go up”explained Alice Rohrwacher in our interview. “The same thing happens in the film, a film that looks at things from another perspective. We follow a gang of grave robbers who are looking for wealth, and we follow Arthur who has another chimera”.
The Chimera: interview with Alice Rohrwacher
Places, characters, memories
Some Alice Rohrwacher suggestions return in La chimera: nature mixed with magic, the delicacy of feelings, sweetness and dirt. And then the places, characters that change and shape the protagonists. And as in Happy Lazarusalso ne The malt the train tracks are back. In the background, an old and metaphorical station that comes back to life. “‘La chimera’ is a film that reflects on the ownership of things. Like the properties of the dead. Whose are the ancient Etruscan vases? Who do they belong to? Museums? Archaeologists? Grave robbers? Among these properties is a station abandoned. If it is abandoned, it belongs to everyone, then one of the protagonists makes it a place of life. They are places inspired by reality. They are railway lines that connected small towns, and giving new life to these connections seemed to me something beautiful”.
A film that goes down, to go up
Alice Rohrwacher’s film is stratified by conception. A film that takes different paths, gradually superimposing different points of view. “In the film, the more you go up, the more you go down. As with trees. The roots go deep, when the branches then go up. The same thing happens in the film, a film that looks at things from another perspective We follow a gang of grave robbers looking for riches, and we follow Arthur who has another chimera.”.
Visual and sound suggestions, and a path that leads up to the beautiful and cathartic ending: “There’s a path of rebirth, and you’re reborn when you let things go. Arthur kind of lets himself go, and then he’s reborn”the director continues: “I’ve always wondered: were all archaeological finds created for the eyes of men? When we bring them back to light, we bring the invisible to the visible. In doing so, there are consequences. When this happens, there can be something beautiful. If an object is taken to a museum, it goes back to its root. If it is stolen, the value changes”.