The TV series “I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone” returns on the Italian channel Rai 1 with a third season, many comebacks, and huge news, first and foremost a new, interesting character: chief Elsa Martini, portrayed by Maria Vera Ratti.
We met Maria Vera to talk about this new adventure and explore her professional and life secrets and ambitions. Constantly searching for projects that can be a metaphor for truth, and a firm supporter of the importance of empathy, both towards the characters to play and every human being, Maria Vera told us about her dream of translating and spreading those voices that are buried by society, leveraging on one fragment at a time.
What’s your first cinema memory?
I don’t know about the first, but the clearest one I have is the first time I sat in the movie theater at the Centro Sperimentale, during the admission process. They screened “Dark Eyes” by Nikita Mikhalkov. I remember feeling at home, which was something I hadn’t felt for a long time.
What makes you say “yes” to a new project? Do you look for something in particular in a script?
I look for a human being with whom I can sympathize intimately, someone whose contradictions I find touching. I look for a director I can trust, with an estranging and honest view, and a script that is in line with their view – that isn’t boring, but aimed at working as a metaphor for true things. You can’t always find all of this (sometimes, you miraculously can), but for now, I’d be happy with even just one or two out of these things, it’s such a joy to do this job that I get excited about any little thing.
“I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone 3:” how did you build your character, Elsa, with her past full of secrets and mysteries?
I found Elsa along the way; I was cast just a few days before starting filming, I read the script in one night, I gleaned insights along the way and, during the Christmas break, I was lucky enough to be able to work on it in greater detail. I was very scared by the short time I had, Daniela Tosco helped me a lot, we looked for her together. I tried to be open to multiple impulses in my search, and eventually, I think I leveraged those aspects of Elsa that moved me the most from a human point of view.
“…I think I leveraged those aspects of Elsa that moved me the most from a human point of view.”
The third season is directed by Monica Vullo: do you remember the first question that you asked her after reading the script?
I think it was, “When do I get to meet my daughter?”
In what way will Elsa fit in the dynamics of the team?
With a bit of arrogance, but always in good faith.
How much of Maria Vera is there in your characters?
I think I’m a very fragmented person, I use a fragment rather than another as leverage. Even though some characters may seem very different from me, there’s always something intimate and personal emerging, which I use as leverage and it helps me defend their choices.
How would you describe “I Bastardi di Pizzofalcone 3” in one word?
You pursued your studies in English and experienced some foreign sets, as well. Would you like to challenge yourself even more on the international landscape? In which kind of roles or genres?
Yes, I would love to. What I would like to do most is give a voice to those people that somehow fall through the cracks of society, make them comprehensible and sharable by those who paint everything with the same brush. I’d like to put a strain on dogma and social constructs starting from the history of a single individual, show how big narrations can hurt people. I’d love to play a role that could warn about those preconceptions and generalizations that atrophy empathy. So, this is my dream, if I had the chance to do this, whatever genre and way would be fine for me.
“…give a voice to those people that somehow fall through the cracks of society, make them comprehensible and sharable by those who paint everything with the same brush.”
Your most significant cinematographic encounter so far?
It would be impossible and unfair to mention just one person. However, now I’m about to start a project with a director whose movies I’ve loved ever since the time before I started doing this job, and I’m extremely happy about that.
An epic fail on set?
I had this kind of vintage-colored contact lenses, they were very thick, and I couldn’t see a thing. I nearly kissed the camera operator instead of the actor. I ran into his arms and crossed my fingers, but I couldn’t see anything.
Your must-have on set.
“I nearly kissed the camera operator…”
What’s the latest thing you found out about yourself?
That being anxious about not being anxious is a good sign.
What does it mean to you to feel comfortable in your own skin?
Il means to feel like I’m a person before a woman.
What are you afraid of?
Everything, so maybe nothing? Besides closed spaces, those scare me a lot.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done, instead?
I told my parents, after graduation, that it was all very nice but I was going to be an actress.
The book on your nightstand right now.
“The Water of the Lake is Never Clear and Pure” by Giulia Caminito.
What’s your happy place?
The rehearsal room.
Photos & Video by Johnny Carrano.
Makeup & Hair by Chantal Ciaffardini.
Styling by Sara Castelli Gattinara.
Thanks to Others srl.
Thanks to Magazzini Ruffi
Total look by Sandro Paris
Blouse: Paul Smith
Total look by Etro
Blouse: Paul Smith
Shoes: Claudie Pierlot
Total look by Dixie