Casa del Fascio is one of the most important modernist architecture. I wanted Monelle to be set in a place of power and administration but not in the place of a specific power or administration. Instead of many architecture built during the Fascist years – whose relation with power is underlined in each giant column and in every massive bas-relief – the Casa del Fascio by Terragni stages a precise dialogue between pure geometric shapes, materializing a virtual and abstract space. Inside the building – which since the mid-’50s has been the provincial headquarters for Como of the Guardia di Finanza – you have the distinct sensation of moving around a place of power, yet one manifested in a subtle and restless manner; it’s a restlessness which is the reflection of a form of politics meant as an invisible, penetrating and all-enveloping force. This is a sentiment which is not directly connected to a given historical period or a given power, but which concerns an ontological aspect of the dynamics of power that the ‘Casa del Fascio’ brings to light thanks to the formal synthesis that it represents.
You made radical aesthetic choices, within just a few shots and a very strong work on cinematography, light and sound. How did you conceive these nearly hallucinated scenes ?
Monelle aims to be a meeting point between two different cinematographic approaches: the cold and analytical one of Structural cinema, and a more sentimental and spectacular one, typical of genre cinema. On one hand, the work uses a strictly followed yet arbitrary structure to shoot the images and carry out the editing process, which traces the layout of the Casa del Fascio; on the other, the film uses a number of archetypal figures of horror cinema. In this hybridization process – which is also present in the use of two different formats such as 35mm and CGI animation – lies the intention that Monelle may constitute an opaque and ambiguous place inhabited by the restlessness to which cinema and its history have given life. The scenes you are referring to somehow surface from the very same darkness of the “film” itself.
What is the meaning of the title « Monelle » ?
In Italian « monelle » means brats. In French, it is the title – and the character – of a book by Marcel Schwob.