‘Io, tu, noi, indivisibili‘. This is the hit song of Dasy e Viola (Marianna and Angela Fontana), siamese twins in Indivisible, is the last feature movie by Edoardo De Angelis. Screened in Italy since 29 September, has been positively received at the Venice Film Festival and at Toronto International Film Festival. The Neapolitan director presents now at BFI London Film Festival the story of the twins that, thanks to their voice, support financially the whole family.
Indivisible is the only movie, so far, that has been applauded at the press screening.
Yes, I’ve been told. I like the idea that the more emotional scenes have been received in a similar way, in London or in Naples or in Toronto.
How did the idea of the movie develop?
I wanted to tell the story of a separation. In order to grow up sometimes it’s necessary to hurt oneself and leave someone behind, a relative, a friend, a lover, or a part of us. When I met the screenwriter Nicola Guaglianone, who told me the story of siamese twins that support their family singing, I thought it was the perfect idea for a movie.
The protagonists, Desy and Viola, could have been depicted like monsters. On the contrary it looks like all the other characters are monsters. How did you achieve that?
I wanted to find equilibrium among repulsion and attraction. And I wanted to achieve that with a beautiful face, a great voice. All things that matter have two elements: beauty and ugliness, old and new. Contrast is life.
Dasy and Viola want a very private life. Their friends, on the contrary, want celebrity at all cost.
My characters come come from Daisy and Violet Hilton, British siamese twins that took part, at the beginning of 1900, in the Barnum Circus and had a role in Freaks by Tod Browning in 1932. They were real freaks. At the end of the day, the Barnum Circus was not too far from today’s reality shows. My characters live in a perennial reality show, but they decide to hide from spotlights because only far from them they can find their true identity. A decision against the upstream. Light might burn. Sometimes one needs shadow to see things clearer.
Have the girls been trained physically and psychologically to play their role?
Yes, I worked a lot with physical pain and struggle, with fatigue. I don’t like to talk philosophy to my actors and I’d rather have them work with their body. Their sensations subsequently will flow. Gesture is more urgent than thought.
The movie is set in Campania, your region, in Castel Volturno. How did you want to represent it? Is it a love and hate relationship?
I did not intend to show my region but I wanted to find a unique meaning: the relationship between man and territory, a relationship that starts with love but then becomes violence, unjustified hate. Castel Volturno is a symbol of this relationship, because it’s a place that once was beautiful. Today is scarred, it’s an empty shell. But these scars have been produced by the same man that today is trying to heal them. In the first scene I have put a concrete mixer among dying buffaloes and stakes, and the mixer means reconstruction. Unfortunately destruction does not stop. It’s a continue struggle.
Religion is mixed with magic and superstition. What’s the role of religion?
Religion is today what politic was in Italian cinema of the ’60. We come from a very dark time. We are trying to rebuild our ethic, we want to know who we are and how we want to live. Our ethic has been swept away completely. Values like family and social integrity have been cancelled and we are wondering where we want to go and who we want to be. The risk is to turn to religion, that might give wrong answers. I liked the idea of two simple girls that want to follow a straight line, with no discussion.
Let’s talk about the music. How did you choose it? There are songs by Enzo Avitabile. Would you define the twins’ songs ‘neo-melodic’?
There are three different levels. The narrative one, represented by the girls’ songs. ‘Indivisibili’ and ‘Drin drin’ have been composed by Riccardo Ceres, one of my musicians. The last song, which the father considers his masterpiece, ‘Tutt’egual song ‘e criature’, is by Enzo Avitabile. The father considers himself a poet forced to please his public, but secretly thinking about writing a real masterpiece. It’s not properly a ‘neo-melodic’ song. I know the genre: songs full of mistakes that shake people’s hearts. That is what happens in Naples, that produces its own local heroes but treats them like internationally acclaimed stars. The second level is the soundtrack. Enzo Avitabile is a great artist. Jonathan Demme has made a documentary about him three years ago, Enzo Avitabile Music Life. The third level is the non-audible music. Every scene has its own rhythm. You don’t hear it but it’s there.
Click here to see the interview to Edoardo De Angelis.
Click here to watch the trailer of Indivisible.
Read the article in Italian here.