Our interview with the director, Jonathan Nossiter, and the female lead Charlotte Rampling. With them, also Kalipha Touray, young (non-actor) protagonist of Last Words.
Behind Last Words Of Jonathan Nossiter there is a concept, which he himself explained: “Memory is entrusted to the cinema. The film is a fairy tale about the recovery of tenderness in the face of a catastrophe. A catastrophe that can happen even today. Cities are sad. From rich to poor. And perhaps thanks to a laugh, we can feel better “. During our press meeting, in Rome in mid-June, grayed by a noisy storm, we met the director, together with the female protagonist, Charlotte Rampling. With them, also Kalipha Touray, the film’s young non-actor as well as the leitmotif of the story. A story that takes us to 2085, to a world destroyed by the man-made climate crisis. When all is now lost, a hope. Turned on right from the cinema, found under the rubble.
In fact, in the film there are several sequences of infamous films, a choice explained by Jonathan Nossiter as follows: “Let’s go from the Lumières to Totò, there are no contemporary films. I stopped at Monty Python. I wanted to insert eclectic sequences. It’s a sort of line. A line that traces the cinema that I love. They’re not my favorite films, but they’re among the greatest in history. It’s not a list”. In conclusion, Last Words is a declaration of love towards the Seventh Art. “Cinema is alive for me. It’s not something fetishistic, empty, intellectual. Cinema is love. And thanks to cinema you can fall in love four times in one day”continues the director: “If you see Monicelli and Fellini there is an exchange. The spectator, when he is willing to receive, is invaded by a dialogue that is only possible on the big screen. In my film, the last survivors come back to life thanks to the cinema. There was one vital exchange, and also on the set, with the extras. They are not extras, but human beings… actors, non-actors, refugees from a nearby camp”.
Charlotte Ramplig: “Nature rebels against man”
Last Wordsby the way, is inspired by the novel by Santiago Amigorena, My last words. In this regard, Charlotte Rampling explains: “My character was born thanks to the relationship I have with the director. But also thanks to the understanding I have towards the world, and how much man is mistreating the planet. I was involved right away, and my character emerges a little at a time. In the film we see the end of the world, and with the smile of my character we highlight how much love can stop the end of everything. Making a film like this allows you to let yourself go. And then… the planet doesn’t it will destroy itself. It will destroy us long before…”.
Also in the cast Nick Nolte e Alba Rohrwacherwhich they added Kalipha Touray: “Kalipha’s presence was authentic, and therefore he changed the film. You have to feel empathy to be authentic. But he was the story, he was the film. And therefore he didn’t need to pretend”Rampling explains. But what experience was it for Touray? “Not easy, my first film. It was a bit like the first day of school. I didn’t know anything. I was confused, and I watched what the other great actors were doing”.
The urgency of a dark moment
As explained by Jonathan Nossiter, who was supposed to present the film at Cannes 2020, Last Words is a film that refers to the idea of craftsmanship: “I followed the editing, the shooting… they are artisanal gestures. And now that I’m a farmer I understand my nature. I love throwing things, and seeing how they react. Whether it’s a plant or an actor. Always based on the context . I imagined characters who had never seen a film, then today that we are all video makers and interpreters. There are few people who have a sacred relationship with cinema”.
What prompted you to shoot it? “There is a need for an urgency. The state of the environment, and the search for a new contact with others. Covid has changed everything. We have stopped being respectful, of being civil. Of being tender with each other. Laughing is missing and cry together. This takes away a lot, and when you watch a film on your computer, it is locking art into a limited concept. Cinema is a cultural act, and it is essential to combat the brutality of our times. We have governments that are marginalizing culture, health, food. This is the engine of the end of the world. We are afraid to touch each other, to get to know each other. Covid has hit cinema and our exchanges. I live between Lazio and Abruzzo, I have become full-time farmer. Now I don’t want to go back to cinema, as a farmer I am very happy”. We confirm: he shows us his worker’s hands really proud and smiling.