Italian Chiara Bellosi talks about her growth as a director with “Swing Ride”

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Chiara Bellosi, whose first book, “Ordinary Justice”, was launched on Section Generation 14plus in 2020, is back with “Swing Ride” (“Calcinculo”) about being overweight 15-year-old Benedetta craves attention in an Italian province where she falls in love with skinny non-binary Amanda.

A key difference between the two films is that although ‘Ordinary Justice,’ which examined the lives of two opposing families in a murder case, is based on a deeply researched screenplay Bellosi wrote, ‘Swing Ride’ – which premiered in Panorama on February 13 – stems from an award-winning screenplay given to him by Carlo Cresto Dina, his producer, who also discovered Alice Rohrwacher (“Happy as Lazzaro”) and is known for nurturing the cream of the new Italian film culture.

“It’s a very different process; it was the first time I had to start from a world that hadn’t sprouted from me,” Bellosi said of the screenplay written by Maria Teresa Venditti and Luca De Bei which won the prestigious Italian Solinas award in 2018. .

It was like moving into a new home that she had to make her own, she says.

“I worked with the screenwriters; I wanted to make some adjustments and we did that together,” she added, noting that initially “it was a leap into the void.” But directing from their script ended up giving her “ more freedom” than his previous photo because “the container is already there; but you can go wild with the rest.

This freedom also made it more fun. “And of course who you are seeps into the movie anyway,” she said. “It seeps into the way you see the characters; how you shoot; how you tell the story. The vision is definitely yours.

Born in 1973 in the northern lakeside town of Como, Bellosi studied acting at the Civica Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi in Milan and later earned a master’s degree in documentary film at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Venice. In 2006, she shot a short film which was a segment of the omnibus documentary “Checosamanca”, produced by Cresto Dina, which eventually led her to direct “Ordinary Justice”. In the meantime, Bellosi became passionately involved in ssocial work for several years, but continued to write.

“Swing Ride,” which was shot over a six-week period during the pandemic in the town of Guidonia, outside Rome, is a dark fable depicting the friendship between Benedetta, played by newcomer Gaia Di Pietro, and the binary Amanda, played by Andrea Carpenzano (“The Champion”, “Lovely Boy”) whom Benedetta decides to follow into her “misplaced world”, as Bellosi said so.

To prepare the inexperienced Di Pietro, she brought in an interim coach. But really “the main thing was to get to know Gaia as much as possible” before filming, she said. With Carpenzano, the only preparation they made was meeting a few times to talk and realizing that they “shared a language”.

How important was it that Amanda was a non-binary character?

For Bellosi, Amanda’s gender was never really an issue. “The question has always been, who is Amanda to Benedetta?” she said. And the bottom line is that she “clearly is a catalyst” for Benedetta’s empowerment.

In terms of tone, what Belllosi was looking for was a film that combined naturalism “with the overall feel of a fable”.

Going forward, Bellosi doesn’t know what his next project will be. Or at least she doesn’t say so. But she’s sure the most important thing in her career so far “has been the freedom to create and experiment,” she said.

“Cinema is like a utopia; it’s a world that doesn’t exist, but then you build it with other people, and then it exists. It is the journey that interests me.

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