Considered one of the most original Italian filmmakers over the past several decades, it’s hard to think of a more accomplished international guest speaker than Italian director, Nanni Moretti. In 1976, Moretti released his first feature film, Io sono un autarchico, and never looked back. From that point on, Moretti became a professional filmmaker, eventually gaining international acclaim with his film, Sogni d’oro, which won the Silver Lion at the 38th Venice International Film Festival. Moretti was also awarded for La messa è finita, which won the Silver Bear – Special Jury Prize at the 36th Berlin International Film Festival and La stanza del figlio, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
In an event moderated by NYFA President Michael Young, students from the New York Film Academy in New York were treated to a screening of his 1993 film Caro diario—which awarded Moretti with Best Director at Cannes—followed by a Q&A with Moretti. Like so many of his films and similar to Woody Allen, Moretti writes, produces, directs and stars in the semi-autobiographical film. Presented in three chapters, Moretti uses the experiences of traveling on his motor scooter, cruising with his friend around a set of remote islands in search of peace to finish his new film and consulting doctor after doctor to cure his annoying rash to cast a humorous look at his life and those around him.
While bouncing around from doctor to doctor, Moretti eventually discovers he has a lymphatic system tumor on his lung. Based on his actual battle with the illness, Moretti told a full house of students that he only wanted to tell of his struggle if it was delivered in the appropriate tone—dry and ironic.
Most of Moretti’s films are very personal and yet universally relatable. Admitting there’s no calculated plan to succeed in that regard, Moretti says he writes and creates films about his life, his experiences and his neuroses, each a terrific starting-point for a screenwriter staring at a blank page.
As a kid who began making short films on Super 8, Moretti recommends the current generation of up and coming filmmakers band together with a crew and shoot on video. And while it may be enjoyable at moments to work alone, Moretti says, “In the long run, working alone can be very tiresome and boring.”
Be sure to check out his most recent award-winning film, Mia Madre, which stars Moretti, Margherita Buy and John Turturro.