Diabolik and Eva Kant, Ginko and Altea: two couples compared in “Diabolik, who are you?”, the film presented at the Rome Film Festival (THE PROGRAM) and in theaters from November 30th. Of the three films by brothers Marco and Antonio Manetti on the King of Terror, this is undoubtedly the most introspective. Action, chases, heists and phantasmagorical robberies are not lacking, but this time an important part is for the story that Diabolik himself tells of his past: he reveals where he comes from, how he grew up, how his criminal career began and how he cultivated his skill in disguises. Diabolik confesses in the 1968 comic book from which the film takes its story and title. In the climactic scene he is chained like his most feared enemy, Inspector Ginko. They are facing each other but cannot touch each other. They can only talk to each other. Both are prisoners of a gang of ferocious outlaws and are convinced that they are at the end of their lives, while they wait for the killer who will eliminate them. A perfect moment of truth: Ginko asks Diabolik: “Who are you?” and he, without a mask, answers as if in an impossible interrogation. The two are perfectly in their roles: the policeman asks, the criminal answers. Both, however, know they are doomed.
The directors, the Manetti brothers, explain: “Diabolik can also be explored and reflected upon and so ‘Diabolik, who are you?’, as far as possible in a genre film, tries to reflect on the human soul.”
Marco Gianniotti is Diabolik, Valerio Mastandrea is Ginko, Miriam Leone is Eva Kant, Monica Bellucci is Altea. If the confrontation between the two male antagonists is above all psychological, on the female front everything is very different: the two team up and plan an action to free their men.
Miriam Leone tells us: “Usually Eva Kant saves Diabolik alone, this time she finds an accomplice: a non-conformist, independent and free woman like her, that is Altea, who is lucky enough to be played by Monica Bellucci. When women come together great things can happen in the name of love. This is the message that comes from the Giussani sisters, who are the creators of the Diabolik saga.”
Monica Bellucci adds: “In the comic and in the film there is a lot of talk about the evolution of women and certainly the Giussani sisters with Eva Kant and Altea created characters completely different from the world of the 60s, where women lived a much more domestic reality . Creating such emancipated, courageous, free and sensual women in a world completely dominated by men was like creating women similar to themselves. The Giussanis were great artists and entrepreneurs, completely different women compared to their time and who, despite all the criticism they received, were not afraid and continued with their project.”
BP: There is a universe of films derived from comics: I would like to know what you think, especially the ones about Diabolik.
ML: “Diabolik is a noir, it’s not so much the cine-comic you expect today, with special effects. The Manetti Bros, who are directors and producers, talk about Italian craftsmanship: many special effects are actually done with contraptions on stage, just like Diabolik would have done: this aspect of the film is very interesting. Speaking of the diversity of this comic, I believe it is much more modern and profound than it appears. Eva Kant is a free and independent woman and enters the scene in issue number 3, “The arrest of Diabolik”, released before ’68.
MB: “In the film and in the comic the characters play with love and death. Of all the episodes this is the most emblematic, precisely because it tells the criminal’s past and reveals the origin of the name.”
Let’s go back to the interview with the Manetti brothers: are you happy with your Diabolik trilogy which ends with this film?
“Artistically very happy, but let’s say that we will know better after the public screenings. There is no better time to understand your own film than the first time you see it in a theater with an audience.”
BP: The question is obligatory: will there be other films of yours on Diabolik?
“Who knows… clearly he is a character that can and must continue, in the sense that he has so many possibilities. We as filmmakers definitely take a break. We are already working on another film, something very different, which we have finished shooting and are editing. For the future, Diabolik is a character who obviously can still give a lot.”