Peter Greenaway: «I love Ridley Scott and Italian cinema»

I am embarking on a new film starring Morgan Freeman, I will be shooting it in Lucca, and it will be called Lucca Mortis. I should start shooting as early as October.Peter Greenaway immediately gives us news as soon as we sit down at the table to talk about The Draughtsman’s Contract, which is celebrating its fortieth anniversary with a beautifully restored copy in the Venice Classics program.

The film will focus a lot on the city and its architecture, which, as you know, is my second work. But actually, I also have a Venetian screenplay ready to go on the set, and it is the true story of what happened during the filming of Luchino Visconti’s Death in Venice and the erotic seduction of the actor who played the young Tazio. A story may be a little strong some years. Still, one that I think could be told now, in a horror key.”

Eighty years old, an age at which a man “no longer has much value. What can a man produce after that age? Picasso brought out something good. Still, Tolstoy was a finished writer.” The filmmaker who has always tried to keep up with the times and who rode the beginning of the digital revolution that has, however, “then become boring, think of Star Wars, how boring movies are now. No revolution is destined to succeed.”

Speaking of The Draughtsman’s Contract, the movie reflects that “everything is dominated by patriarchy and that things after forty years have not changed that much. There is still a long way to go.” Impossible not to ask him about the news of the day, if not the year, the death of Queen Elizabeth II. “I’ve been waiting for this question, but what can I say? I’m a republican at heart, but I understand that the people also feel the need to be represented by an apolitical figure, as much as it is an institutional form that doesn’t always work. Elizabeth couldn’t have an opinion about anything, which is inhumane if you think about it.

Talking about cinema, Mr Greenaway is always surprising.

My favourite Hollywood director is Ridley Scott. How can you not think of a man who made films like Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator? My first cinematic love was Ingmar Bergman because there was almost always a naked woman in his films. And Italian cinema, from Neorealism to La dolce vita to The Last Emperor. You made some outstanding cinema, then I don’t know what you did, but that’s another story.

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