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VENISE 2021 Hors-compétition

Luca Rea • Réalisateur de Django & Django

“Corbucci n’était pas vraiment considéré comme un artiste ou un 'auteur' de cinéma, mais c’est ce qu’il était, et c’est évident dans ses westerns”


- VENISE 2021 : Ce documentaire italien célèbre l’homme derrière l’iconique association de Franco Nero avec un cercueil

Luca Rea  • Réalisateur de Django & Django
(© La Biennale di Venezia - Foto ASAC/Giorgio Zucchiatti)

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

In Luca Rea's Django & Django [+lire aussi :
interview : Luca Rea
fiche film
, shown out of competition at the Venice Film Festival, Franco Nero meets Jamie Foxx, in a way. Or perhaps it’s Sergio Corbucci who — albeit posthumously — meets his lifelong fan, Quentin Tarantino, discussing every single detail behind the 1960s westerns that inspired his 2012 film Django Unchained or the ear-severing scene in Reservoir Dogs

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Cineuropa: It’s almost as if you granted the world another masterclass by Quentin Tarantino. He goes into so much detail here. You can just feel the love.
Luca Rea:
Everything started because of Nicoletta Ercole, our producer. She is a well-known costume designer and she has also worked with all these great Italian directors, including Sergio Corbucci. She was treated like a part of his family and she wanted to pay homage to Sergio and his movies. 

I have been friendly with Quentin since 2004, when we did the retrospective Italian Kings of the Bs, which was also for the Venice Film Festival. We showed all these movies from the past that you couldn’t really see anywhere else at the time. After that, we became friends and he trusts me, I think. Almost 20 years later, since I knew that he really loves Sergio Corbucci and was trying to write a book about him, I reached out when this was still a work in progress. We talked about what would make Sergio interesting right from the start, even to younger people, and that’s where the pre-title sequence came from, for example. You get a spin-off from Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, where Quentin tells you what happened to Rick Dalton [played by Leonardo DiCaprio] in Italy when he goes there to make westerns, which you don’t really see in his movie. He came to set with all these notes about the things he wanted to discuss, so I ended up using him as the main narrator in the film.

Apart from Sergio Leone, who actually got some arthouse recognition, these filmmakers were usually looked down on and perceived as “trashy” for a long time. Was that really the case?
And it wasn’t just in Italy — it’s quite common when it comes to popular cinema in general, or genre films. Sergio Corbucci made more than 70 movies in his career, including very popular comedies. But, and that’s not just my opinion, he could really express his artistic urgency in these westerns. That was an interesting thing to rediscover. He is well-known in Italy, obviously, but not really considered an artist or an auteur. But that’s what he was and it’s evident in his westerns, even though it was the most popular genre at that time.

For years, he has been known as the guy who pushed violence to its very extremes. “He liked blood,” says Cannibal Holocaust director Ruggero Deodato in your film, admitting he was the one who taught him cruelty.
In the end, we succeeded in covering pretty much every aspect of his westerns and I don’t think that one is more important than others — they are all equal. Personally, I think that the comic book influence was crucial here. All this violence comes from that: it’s comic book violence. There were many debates about that at the time, but it was clear to him — and to younger audiences — that it was always heading in that direction, and was not some realistic depiction. The grownups, they just didn’t get it [laughter]. 

I chose not to interview too many people in the film. Once you start talking to everyone involved, it’s always the same: “Yes, I remember that time, I suggested this and that.” The real feeling that you really want to have is to be taken back in time. To be there on set, with Sergio Corbucci, experience it all just as it happened. Quentin achieved that effect in Once Upon… The difference is, he did it with a lot of money and the kind of setup that really transports you back to the 1960s. In my case, all I could do was to locate as much footage from that time as possible. 

You show very long scenes from Corbucci’s films, not just some fragments. In documentaries of this kind, it’s really not that common.
Yes, that’s your usual “talking heads” structure and something I certainly didn’t want to have. When I watch these “cinephile documentaries,” this is something I am curious to see as well — I want to see how the film was made, what the conditions on set were, and how the director behaved. Which is exactly why I wasn’t afraid to let these scenes play out for a while. It’s not like there is some rule you always have to follow: no one can tell you how short, or long, a scene should be in your film. It was all about finding the right rhythm. 

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