Italian, sybarite, lover of beauty, jaded, intellectual, addicted to work, professional, charismatic. I picture myself shaking these words in a tumbler and throwing them onto the rug to see how they will land.
Asia Argento’s influences, whether in music or in film, run the gamut, but only insofar as it is worthy of being called art. She’s stuck to her guns, having appeared in films by Gus Van Sant, Sofia Coppola and France’s Olivier Assayas, to name a so many few. If she wanted to she probably could’ve had the Hollywood career envied by so many. In 2002 she landed a part alongside The Rock in “xXx” and later figured that big-budget American pictures was one poney she wasn’t going to ride long: it’s arthouse-ville or bust. Tinseltown offered her more parts after that but Argento decided to focus on a career making independent cinema while tending to a growing family.
Argento has been quite prolific now that her children are past infanthood and the most pressing demands are behind her. She’s had the lead role in a short film with Adan Jodorowski, recently spent a couple months in Barcelona acting in “Cadences Obstinées,” a film directed by French actress Fanny Ardant, and is currently shooting a short film as part of an opus on post-modern-modern feminism. And it doesn’t stop here. Argento will also be directing a feature-length film in Europe this summer.
I recently traded a few emails with her to discuss her work on a a short film whose production just wrapped up:
Screen Comment: What’s this new short film you’re working on?
Asia Argento: I’ll tell you everything, besides the names of the other filmmakers as that’s still a bit confidential. The film is called “Women Stories.” It is a feature film written and directed by eight female directors. Each one has her own view and her own way of directing movies. It’ll be in four or five languages, French, Italian, English, Chinese and maybe Arabic.
What’s your segment called?
My own film is called “Era Di Marzo,” which means “It happened in March.” It’s set in the fifties and I shot it in black and white. I wrote the screenplay with the great Barbara Alberti (“I am love” by Luca Guadagnino) and Timoty Aliprandi (a highly prolific video and film director of photography in Italy).
There are so few women filmmakers out there showcasing their work. Was this project initiated by you?
Actually, the idea of selecting different female filmmakers came from Noëlle Deschamps [a French screenwriter and filmmaker who directed “Dreamers” in 2012, a similar project reuniting 16 filmmakers including John Boorman, James Gray, Michael Gondry, Jacques Audiard and Emir Kusturica.]
Is there an unifying theme, what’s the thrust behind these many different films?
Women’s issues around the world, how they see themselves. Some have had the chance to live in countries where they have the same rights as men, others not. What are the differences? What do we fight for? Now that, in lot of countries the “legal” fight is done, what do we do with it? As we say in French: “Et maintenant on fait quoi?” (and now what do we do?)
This raises new questions, doesn’t it?
Did the mentality really change? What is the woman’s role in modern society? What role does she choose to play and what role do men want her to play?
Cannes is in the air [the festival will take place in mid-May]. Will you take your film there?
The film should be ready for the Cannes Film Festival, in 2014. This is the major festival we are aiming at for the movie.
Is this an international production?
It is French, with Dominique Marzotto as the film’s producer. Lionel Guedj is the executive producer.
“Women stories” will first be distributed in France in Spring 2014, international distribution to follow after that.
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Screen Comment will be at the Cannes Festival next month (follow us on Twitter)