Stefano Bollani: “The perfect soundtrack? It’s magic…”

Stefano Bollani jokes on the eve of the presentation of the Soundtrack Stars Award (tomorrow at 3 p.m., Italian Pavilion). “I am pleased with this award because I did not expect it. I don’t know whether to take it as encouragement or the way to tell me wanted to tell me, ‘okay, you’ve already convinced us.”

My relationship with soundtracks,” says the pianist, “started when I saw Jesus Christ Superstar. I thought it was wonderful, and music connected to those images still works very well today.” Stefano Bollani and Valentina Cenni resumed the program Via dei matti n.0 Sept. 5  for Rai 3, but the pianist is also the author of the soundtrack for Francesco Lagi’s Il Pataffio. “Lagi’s film is set in an imaginary Middle Ages, and I had fun writing music for harpsichord, flute and percussion. Then the film takes a very introspective and dramatic path, then the piano starts to appear and everything becomes much warmer. I had a lot of fun in this game, but now I did the soundtrack for a short film directed by Valentina, the title is Essere oro (Being Gold).” Where did the idea come from?

One day, Valentina started writing a screenplay that came out of nowhere. She thought about directing it, and from the initial idea of a feature film we will make in the future, she started with a short film that is a 15′ gem that you cannot see for now.” “It’s selected for two festivals,” adds Valentina Cenni, “we are trying to figure out what kind of life it will have. It’s the story of a little girl trying to put back in order her family nest that emotional storms have destroyed… But Essere oro is also a wish, to be a light in the face of pain, of death. To be a beacon in the night.” And the feature film? “We can’t wait. It’s a beautiful story,” Bollani adds, “but it has nothing to do with the story of the short film. “Yes, but the music of the short film,” Valentina jokes, “is music that supports the story…we had auditions to choose the composer. The fitting soundtrack is, of course, crucial for a film.

“I heard Nino Rota’s music before I saw the films for which it was written,” Bollani says, “When I later saw Fellini’s films, I had confirmation of what I had already thought just by listening to the music. “Yes, of course, that was what I imagined,” I said. I didn’t understand what the film wanted to tell, but the atmospheres it wanted to evoke were crystal clear.” Perfect chemistry that happens other times, too. “Like Bernard Hermann and Alfred Hitchcock, each brought out the best in the other. Or Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone. I have given two obvious examples, but I would, however, also suggest another perfect union, that between Roman Polansky and Polish jazz pianist Krzysztof Komeda. Beautiful music even on its own, but with images, they are perfect.”

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