“Tornare” (Going back).
A word full of meaning, especially on a personal level, but also the title, (and theme), of the latest movie starring actress Barbara Ronchi. Directed by Cristina Comencini, “Tornare” talks about the relationship between Alice (Giovanna Mezzogiorno) and Virginia (played by Barbara) who find themselves dealing with their past, family memories and the people they have become.
We chatted with Barbara about this new film, the importance of time and memories, “Luna Nera,” the first Italian fantasy series produced by Netflix, and of the personal and professional passions, experiences and curiosities that populate her world making it a place where to always go back.
What does “Tornare” mean to you? Both as the title of the film and the word itself (which means coming back to something)?
Going back means going to the place where you came from, and that’s what happens to Alice in the film: she’ll go back to the house where she was born and grew up and from which she ran away. She is going back to memories of her as child and teenager, to the beautiful, the ugly, and lost memories. For me, going back means looking back and deciding to go and see what was left along one’s path.
How did you work on your character and the relationship with your sister? What kind of confrontation was there with Giovanna Mezzogiorno and Cristina Comencini both before and while filming?
I am Virginia, Alice’s younger sister. They have not seen each other for a long time and are not familiar with each other, as if they were two strangers, except having the same memories, and this is what unites them as sisters. With Cristina Comencini and Giovanna Mezzogiorno, we tried to recreate a bond of sisterhood given by gestures and words, without the emotional impulses, and the only moment where there was an opening, was with the memories of their mother.
“For me, going back means looking back and deciding to go and see what was left along one’s path.”
A film full of emotions, rediscoveries, and relationships: did you discover or rediscover something of yourself while filming it?
The thing that impressed me most while filming was the house itself. Filming in a home where you can feel that there had been many people living, gave me a strange responsibility for my life, I felt dizzy, and I felt the closeness between life and death.
What’s universal about this film for you?
We all have memories, and we all feel the pain of remembering, whether it is about good or bad things because we know that those moments will never come back.
“Time” is one of the main characters of the film, and, as the director said, it’s not the time we are used to “live in;” but how do you experience “time”?
I experience time in a somewhat nostalgic way. I fight vigorously with myself to be more anchored to the present than to the past.
You were also part of the Netflix Original series “Luna Nera.” What was it like being part of such a big project?
“Luna Nera” was the first fantasy series in Italy, and for me, it was very nice to be part of it; it was an educational experience. We knew we were doing something experimental, and all the departments experimented, from writing to costumes, from directing to acting.
” ‘Luna Nera’ was the first fantasy series in Italy, and for me, it was very nice to be part of it.”
What’s the last series you’ve binge-watched?
What is your first memory of the world of cinema?
The pick up: I remember it seemed unbelievable that someone had to pick me up at home to take me to set.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
The audition for the Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Your “epic fail” on the set.
Having shot a long sequence shot, getting into the car, and not being able to start it because it was automatic, and I couldn’t find the pedals.
Your must-have on the set.
Who is a style icon for you in the world of cinema?
What makes you laugh the most?
Nino Frassica’s jokes.
How do you deal with the stress or anxiety that can result from your work?
The stress is sometimes very high: waiting for a phone call that doesn’t come, there are only two of us left for a role, you are not satisfied with an audition you did, and you keep thinking about it for the following days, how would you re-do that scene you just shot. I try not to think about it and do other stuff like yoga, but it doesn’t always work. I try to coexist with it.
What is the last book you’ve read?
“Il colibrì” by Sandro Veronesi.
“I try not to think about it and do other stuff like yoga, but it doesn’t always work. I try to coexist with it.”
What music are you listening to?
Right now, the whole soundtrack of “The Lion King:” from Hans Zimmer to Elton John, because my son Giovanni wants to listen to it at least once a day, every day. I had forgotten how beautiful it was.
What’s always in your bag?
A lip balm.
Which film has had the most significant impact on you?
“Bellissima” by Luchino Visconti.