Paola Cortellesi at the Giffoni Film Festival 2020: interview

Paola Cortellesi loves to make people laugh with intelligence, but she definitely changes register as the narrator of the film Nilde Iotti, the time of women, scheduled for 7 September as a special event at the Venice Film Festival. While at the end of the month the sequel to Like a cat on the ring road, back on Sky TV with the TV series Petra, but in the meantime in connection with the Giffoni Festival retraces the most important stages of her career and the female themes that are particularly close to her heart. For her the world of entertainment is not just an Olympus of gods sparkling with worldliness, for this reason she advises young people to roll up their sleeves, study, ask questions and understand. For this reason she has dedicated herself to writing and interpreting stories in the cinema that reflect the tradition of Italian comedy, focusing the spotlight on the most delicate social issues.

Paola Cortellesi during the streaming interview at the Giffoni Film Festival 2020

© francesco truono

His monologues went viral and moved a transversal audience of all ages. Which topic is particularly close to your heart?
I often propose the one about bullying in schools and every time I recite it in class it seems to me as exciting as the first night. It is true that I tell fictional stories but in each there is something of us and, unlike when I act on the set and I have to sip emotions, here I let myself be totally overwhelmed.

He often talks to women and about women. Where do we stand with gender equality, in your opinion?
A girl is told that she behaves or dresses “like a boy” when she likes sports and wears pants but woe betide a child if they say she looks like a “girl” because it becomes synonymous with a coward. Already from these small details associated with the female world, which portray it as weaker, we understand that the terms are inappropriate. I am not saying that we should be offended, but we must pay attention to the words that are said. Teasing and playing is wonderful, but being careful not to insult an entire genre.

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In his latest works, such as The last will be the last and Excuse if I exist, he returns to the theme of discrimination. Because?
In the first case, my character is torpedoed with the excuse of a fixed-term contract, in the second we see a competent woman to whom a man passes promptly in terms of career. I wanted to talk about that equality that in many cases we struggle to obtain, especially when the female universe receives a lower salary for the same tasks.

Do you miss the TV?
The last program I worked on as an author was Laura and Paola in 2016 with Pausini, one of those experiences that remain inside and on your shoulders, in your muscles, beautiful gyms to train with live tension. In those moments you think night and day about the show and you dedicate yourself only to that, you end up not having a life.

Paola Cortellesi in Giffoni in 2011

What programs did you care about?
I was lucky enough to be part of the last generation that participated in creating a certain type of TV, Italian and non-format productions, such as Mai dire gol or the programs of Serena Dandini, which I had seen since childhood and of which I was a huge fan.

Which teacher of comedy was you inspired by?
TO Franca Valeri: I had the opportunity to chat with her, get to know her, shake her hand and, even if briefly, it remains one of those encounters that make your heart beat. I am grateful to her because she has taught me and millions of Italians to humor. That’s why when characters like her leave, we feel desperate, even though they’re not part of our family. She will never know but she has been a teacher to me, a crucial figure in my growth, an immortal and eternal point of reference.

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