The director, in an interview with ‘Il Tirreno’, recounts the meeting that took place on a dance floor: “Federica is a rock, one look was always enough to understand what I was doing wrong”
“Federica is a rock, she’s a kind of Marcus Aurelius on a horse. One look from her was always enough to make me understand when I was making a mistake.” As the director, screenwriter and writer Enrico Vanzina in an interview with ‘Il Tirreno’ tells how he met his wife, Federica Burgeran encounter that took place in 1975 in Porto Ercole which changed his life.
“That evening many years ago – says Vanzina – in a club, the King’s in Porto Ercole, I found myself sitting next to her again, that beautiful but unpleasant woman I had met a few hours before. It was the era of slow people, the wonderful slow era. Everyone danced except the two of us. I was dead tired but it seemed almost rude not to and I asked her: ‘Do you want to dance?’. We jumped onto the track a little listlessly, but when our bodies touched I instantly felt that my life would change. Hollywood movie stuff! I went to bed at 5 in the morning.”
Vanzina was in Porto Ercole on the set of ‘The Master and the Worker’, the film directed by her father Steno with Renato Pozzetto and Teo Teocoli. He is the assistant director and in the Tuscan town he meets a group of Roman friends “among whom there is a young German woman, beautiful. After exchanging a few words I think: how hateful this lady is! I find out that she had been married and that she had a young son. I go back to work. It’s Saturday, I’m devastated, but I let myself be persuaded and in the evening we go dancing, again with that group of friends. And on the track, touching it, I think that nothing would have been the same as before“.
The director and screenwriter says that at the time he was engaged to a Milanese girl with whom he had to break off the relationship: “I did the thing I regretted most: I went to my father and told him everything, begging him: ‘call her and tell her yourself'”. And how did the father react? “’You’re an asshole,’ he told me, ‘I do it against my will’, but he called her. He made that phone call for me. He told her that the film would run through August and that I wouldn’t be able to go. He came back to me black: ‘I did it, but I won’t talk to you again for a month’, while I was leaving for Amalfi with Federica; together in August, in September and then for life.”
And of his wife he says: “She has worked, traveled everywhere, she is an international and modern woman, but she was born under the sign of cancer: what matters most to her is home, feelings, taking care of the people she loves. We describe the Germans as cold and detached, but they invented romance. She is a woman of frightening sweetness“. After 20 years together the big step, the wedding. “In the afternoon with 30 guests in the Church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, a few steps from home”.
Half a century together, a jet set life and never a crisis? “Throughout life There have been some problems, but she always confronts you with your contradictions. At a certain point we broke up, something happened, a crush. It seemed over. I left home but after a while, one evening, I asked myself: how did I leave the most important woman in my life? I felt uncomfortable, I understood everything and I told her ‘let’s get back together’. She waited a few months, then she called me and said ‘come back’”.
“When they handed me Donatello’s David – Vanzina continues – I only thanked my wife, an incredible woman. Living in a country like Italy, populated by idiots and half-talkers, and having this ‘cast bronze statue’ next to you was everything. When I asked her for advice and she gave it to me I was never wrong; when I didn’t ask her I always made a mistake. “And she confesses that her wife”she also proved to be fundamental for my work because she is an international, open, very modern woman without any prejudice. She loves all the diversity of the world and always has. She is light years ahead“. Vanzina concludes by remembering his brother Carlo who, he states, “preferred cinema to life because, he always said, in cinema there is often a happy ending and in life almost never. Instead Federica made my life a film.”