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Against the background of a desolate Sardinia, All dogs die alone it tells the “failed” encounter between a father and a daughter, the story of two destinies which, despite the indissoluble blood bond, cross each other barely touching, without ever touching deeply. In the loneliness and lack of communication of a non-existent relationship, the vain hope of a girl alone in the world and the last chance of a man who has nothing left to lose is consumed. The debut film of Paolo Pisanu, Gabriele Ferzetti award for best leading actor for Orlando Angius, talks about lost time and does so through the eyes of its protagonists. rudi (Orlando Angius), neighborhood thug and main engine of the action, and his daughter Susanna (Francesca Cavazzuti) that he does not see for many years and who, after the death of his mother and the pressure of a degenerative disease, knocks on his door looking for help. Together, she helpless in a wheelchair, he elusive in the inability to take care of it, they will come to terms with the ineluctability of an existential drama, violently “announced” in the first scene of the film.
On the eve of its release at the cinema, Thursday 11 May, we reached out to the Sassari director Paolo Pisanu. Here’s what he told us about his film debut co-written with Gianni Tettiproduced by Damiano Ticconi, distributed by Fandango And which boasts an entirely native cast, except for the cameo of the Roman actor Federico Pacifici.
Let’s start from the title, how did it come about?
It comes from an idea of the screenwriter Gianni Tetti, after various discussions on the meaning of the film, together we thought that the fear of reaching the end of one’s existence alone was one of the dominant themes, so he came up with “All dogs die alone”, a title that immediately convinced me.
At the Bifest in Bari you won the Ferzetti Award for best leading actor for Orlando Angius, not a bad debut.
Yes, we were very happy, it is certainly a great recognition for Orlando’s work and dedication, but it is also an award for all those who believed in the film. I would also like to underline the interpretation of the co-protagonist Francesca Cavazzuti, masterful in rendering so effectively an extremely complex character, made up of gazes and immobility. From the very beginning these two roles were conceived and written for them and I am convinced that only they could have rendered them as well as they have done.
Angius is making his debut as a protagonist, you wouldn’t think given his extraordinary performance: how did you help him get into the role?
Together we made a journey on the character that he understood perfectly, it was a job “to remove” all that was superfluous, to focus on what was really needed. Angius was born with the theater and he was good at detaching himself from that type of aptitude to immerse himself in the role of Rudi, when he entered it he never lost it again. Off the set he is a sweet and sunny person, in the film he has that hard face of someone who has lived life, and he knows how to move inside.
In the first frame he looks in the mirror, in reality during the film it seems that in his life he does not.
Exact. The film was born out of some fears, among these, never coming to terms with the passing of time, or with one’s own feelings. Rudi makes this time pass, only to find himself alone, between regrets and melancholy. Leaving with Rudi looking in the mirror was like announcing the ending, with him looking for himself without finding himself, he will shoot and he won’t change.
No hope of redemption? Yet a chance presents itself to him.
Rudi is the same as always, he doesn’t change, neither because he has a daughter, nor because something happens to him. I am the first to not believe that in life we change because something happens to us, in life we change because we consciously choose to do so.
The film is also the story of lost time, is there something you regret in your life?
I always have a particular concern, that of being out of time, always being a little after what I should have, I’m afraid of not being in time, of staying a bit still, let’s say that timing is not my strong point. However, making a film is a nice way to feel in the actual time in which you live, you are sure you are in the here and now.
What value does the setting of the film have?
I would say that it has the same value as the characters, photographically Sassari stretches from the anonymous suburbs to the deserted sea of Platamona, a tourist “non-place” in the summer and melancholy in the winter. Through the locations, together with Luca Noce (set designer ed), we sought the visual force in the color of the sea, but also in the use of sound and wind. The setting helped me define the characters.
Was there a difficult part during filming?
Yes, there was because of Covid, there was anxiety about someone getting sick, it was tough, but everyone was good at being cautious, compact and attentive. During the first week we didn’t even know if we could continue shooting or not. After this first moment everything was easier.
I have another film planned that I have also written with Tetti and it will be produced by Ticconi, but it is still under development. I hope to be able to start shooting in 2024.