February 27, 2008

Interview With Angelina Maccarone, director of Vivere

Vivere is another one of those hard to describe films. It takes place on Christmas eve in a dreary town outside Cologne, Germany. Three women of different generations-- two sisters and a mysterious older women -- are on the run from their lives and each is affected by the other women in her journey towards creating her future.

Francesca (Esther Zimmering) has been taking care of her her sister Antonietta (Kim Schnitzer) and their father for years driving a cab. When Antoinetta takes off for Rotterdam with her musician boyfriend, Francesca goes in search of her. On her journey she encounters Gerlinde (Hannelore Elsner) and they form an unlikely team in the search for Antoinetta.

Their story is told from each woman's individual perspective. When the stories converge at the end, the three have come together for each other and you get a glimmer that maybe they have created some new connections to each other that will help each of them on her next journey.

The film is written and directed by Angelina Maccarone and produced by Anita Elsani. Angelina answered some questions about the film for Women & Hollywood.

Women & Hollywood: You are the writer and director of this film. How did you come up
with the idea for the film, and did you write it with the intention that you would direct it?

Angelina Maccarone: Since I am a writer/director as you said, I did write VIVERE with the intention to direct it as well. In this case it is an important part of the film since the way it is shot is interwined with my intention of showing three different views of basically the same events and thus make it the subjective story of each of the three protagonists. The basic idea was to show three women of different generations who are at some crossroads in their lives. They all have to make a seemingly small decision that will have great impact onto their lives.
W&H: Explain the title: Vivere.
AM: VIVERE is Italian and means "to live". The three women are in a kind of waiting situation. They wait for other people to make decisions and to tell them what to do. In order to take their lives into their own hands and responsibility they have to give up their waiting and just decide that life begins NOW.
W&H: Each of the women in the film is lonely and desperate to make a connection to others around them. What is the message behind the desperation of people to connect?
AM: I believe that we as human beings are not self-sufficient. But still we need to grow up in the sense of becoming responsible and emotionally independent to be able to have deep and meaningful relationships that are not based on need in the first place. This sounds like a paradox: Becoming independent to being able to belong, but this is how life works, I guess, with paradoxes.
W&H: What do you want people to get out of the film?
AM: I hope for people to think about their situation, their wishes and maybe make them take the first step into the direction they want to head into. Every small step takes you further. I hope this comes across while watching the characters on screen.
W&H: Your film is not only written and directed by a woman, it stars three women and it is produced by a woman. That is very uncommon in the US. Is it easier for women writers and directors in Germany, and what can the US industry learn about how to integrate more women's visions and stories into our film business?
AM: I know too little about the movie business in the US but in Germany it is not necessarily easier for women. We worked on the funding for this film for nearly ten years. Maybe this was due to the fact that there are three female main characters. But still it was great fun working with Anita, the producer, and the cast: Hannelore, Esther and Kim.
Film opens in NY and LA on Friday