Impatient curiosity. Precision and perseverance. Sense of responsibility, love and respect towards the story.
These are the key ingredients Cecilia Bertozzi used to give life on the screen to Simona Dalla Chiesa, the youngest daughter of General Dalla Chiesa in the TV series “Il nostro generale”, based on the story of the general and his fight against Red Brigades, the creation of the antiterrorism unit made of his “kids”, but also the tale of a man and his family.
In our interview, Cecilia told us about her approach to building Simona’s character, from the phone call meeting with Simona herself to her investigative work on the script to find all the nuances of the story and her character.
A “musical” approach to finding the beat of each character who, in the end, is nothing but a “container of lived things” where to draw to always carry something with you.
What’s your first cinema memory?
The first time I entered a cinema. I was 2, my parents took me to see “Lucky and Zorba”. First scene: the little seagull’s mom dies. I started crying so loudly that my mom couldn’t but bring me out. For a few years, they didn’t take me to the movies, and I’ve never watched that film again. A trauma!
Did you already know the story of General Dalla Chiesa? What was your first thought after reading the script of “Il nostro generale”?
I knew the story, but only its outlines, as I studied it in high school in a small chapter about the fight against the mafia; however, rehearsing to audition for the part of Simona Dalla Chiesa gave me the chance to make research and get to really know this story. Reading the script for the first time was touching, and thrilling because of the whole storyline about the police actions and Red Brigades arrests, and honestly, I couldn’t believe I was part of such a big project.
Did you get a chance to speak to the relatives and people who lived in those years? If so, what questions did you ask them? And what was your experience of these encounters like?
I met Simona Dalla Chiesa, or rather, we had a phone call. My hands were trembling when I called her and said: “Hi, Simona, I will be you!”. She laughed and we started our acquaintance.
Luckily, she and her brothers, for many years, have been engaged in spreading the story of their father and those years of terrorism, and they’ve written books, and had an endless number of interviews (how much devotion and willpower do they have!) so I didn’t want to ask her things I’d already read or heard. I asked her about herself, her love story with her husband (in the first two episodes, Simona gets married and goes away from her parents’ home), her children, and what she thinks about herself. When you’re acting, you need to have your character’s viewpoint clear in mind, so I wanted to discover hers and how she felt about what had happened to her, her nearest and dearest, and herself as a woman.