Noon, January 25, 2023 – 07:40
The actress talks about her beginnings with Eduardo De Filippo, her career and friendship with Laurito: “She and I lived with our friends on the Flaminia in Rome. When there was nothing to eat, Marisa said: Today we are on a diet»
by Ida Palisi
Marina Confalone in David di Donatello
“For many years I was the one with the dishwasher: late television gave me the opportunity to show more of myself”. A career that began very young in Eduardo’s company and was launched in 1984 by the scene of the argument with the dishwasher in Thus Spoke Bellavista. Marina Confalone at 71 is an actress, screenwriter, theater director and writer with five David di Donatello awards and many awards for a fifty-year career. The third Ciak d’oro went to her interpretation of the housekeeper Bettina in the film The Great Silence by Alessandro Gassmann based on the script by Maurizio de Giovanni, while on television she shines in the role of Olga, Mina’s sullen and despotic mother Settembre, always out of the Pen born to the Neapolitan writer: one of the authors who today can best exploit her talent, so much so that she writes a role especially for her. Who recently returned to Federico II’s octagonal classroom to interpret Kafka’s monkeys with great intensity while participating in the flash mob for Iran at the Trianon with her lifelong friend Marisa Laurito.
Marina, how were the beginnings with Laurito?
«We lived with our two friends in a tiny apartment on Via Flaminia. We didn’t even have a washing machine, we had to wash our clothes in a bathtub until Bellocchio’s wife, who lived twenty meters from us, sold us a used one. It was the blackest of misery: when there was nothing on the table, Marisa said: Diet today».
Your friend didn’t help?
“He was a gambler: of horses, cards, everything. If he saw two cockroaches together, he would also have bet on who would reach the wall first. One day he was filling our house with new gadgets he’d bought at a profit, the next day he’d already resold them. He also had two shady guys who came to the door looking for him because of debt. Luckily Marisa was easygoing with them, she made coffee for them».
“To prevent more episodes like this, we removed the name tags from the intercom. Except that we ended up dropping them all and causing a big mess of voices when someone knocked without knowing who».
In short, turbulent years.
«Yes, our life was enclosed in 30 square meters with a room divided by a glass door. Friends like Marzio Honorato and Franco Javarone came to bed with us, with whom I had to share a double bed, he with a fever of 40. »
But what years were those?
«From my memory before I was thirty, because I remember that Sergio Castellitto gave me three roses for my thirtieth birthday. He was a close friend of my partner.”
How did it end with “the player”?
“One day he asked me to marry him. We were in the restaurant, he said to me: when we go out, remind me that I have to ask you something. I woke up and thought about him, I closed my eyes and thought about him. I accept. It took three months.”
How was love afterwards?
“I met Gigi, he did a normal job as a sales representative. We’ve been together for 35 years, we’ve never had a fight.”
‘No, he has two from his previous marriage who both live in England and come to visit us from time to time. We come”.
What does Gigi think of her work as an actress?
“Every time one of my shows ends, I find him crying or about to cry. He is always on my side. Once he also appeared in my show Capasciacqua with Pino Strabioli, where he staged the apparition of the Madonna, with a very amusing joke recorded in Sardinian».
What was the moment that changed your life?
“It was the night that Naples won the Scudetto in 1987. We went to a club on Via Martucci to party and he retired at 6pm at home, they didn’t take it well. At that time he was still married, but it was love at first sight between us, we were already in love: we had met a few months earlier at a carnival party ».
Did he recognize her?
“I wasn’t wearing masks and he had seen Bellavista speaking, he was showering me with compliments. He told me he found a good person like him for me. In fact, he had grasped a simplicity that is very much my own».
Does it hate the dishwasher today?
«I was very grateful to Luciano De Crescenzo because he made me famous in one evening from the crowd of unknown actresses, but it is natural that one does not want to stop at this interpretation. When they called me at the theater for So Spoke Bellavista, I declined. I wrote Luciano a letter of apology: I couldn’t bear to be on tour for two years to talk to a dishwasher”.
Next year So Spoke Bellavista will be forty. What do you like least about the film today?
“This overly grotesque way of playing that doesn’t suit me anymore. Let’s be honest and candid, you can make people laugh with absolute truth. It also depends a lot on the skill of the screenwriters to get the best out of us actors.”
Just like de Giovanni. Do you feel more like Olga than Mina Settembre or Bettina the housekeeper from the movie Great Silence?
“Bettina, I love her. This is me when I was a girl, from the nuns with the little white collar and the apron. After so many roles as a pretty tough person, I finally had the opportunity to play a good character, with a woman who cares so much about the family she works for. I felt comfortable in her shoes, but also in Olga’s, who looks a lot like my mother: authoritarian, moody, she always complained».
What does he have about her?
«The same kind of comedy: in her whining she became hilarious, unconsciously funny. But I’m not moody, Bertolucci once told me that I’m the only non-narcissistic actress. My father put me on the path to the theater».
“I was turbulent, shy, I spoke between my teeth and Papa wanted to make me a respectable young lady. He tried them all, in the end he enrolled me in the Theater School of the Artistic and Polytechnic Circle, and I immediately decided that this would be my path. Dad hasn’t spoken to me in 18 years and that’s what inspired me to play Music at the Bottom of the Sea, the story of two deaf mutes who are accidentally locked in a warehouse, all based on silence”.
Did acting run in your blood?
«My maternal grandfather was Gustavo Cuccurullo, a pioneer of Italian cinematography. He was born with a shirt and his parents wrapped him in a page from a cinema and theater magazine. So he took over the management of twelve cinemas from a delivery boy who transported the pizzas for the cinemas and transformed the theaters into cinemas. Even the Trianon».
What would you like to do on TV today?
«Even if television only looks for stories about young women and amorous adventures, audiences are less naïve than they appear and it would certainly be nice to interpret a story about seventy-year-olds, perhaps always with Marisa. But I missed so many chances.”
Can someone tell us about it?
«I refused at the cinema. Hopefully it’s a woman by Monicelli, in the role of Athina Cenci, who won the David, or Benvenuti al Sud. On TV two Fantastico with Baudo, but the worst renunciation was that of a doctor in the family, where I could have used my experience as an actress of Eduardo and obtained a great result of truth with a sincere and at the same time comic acting. But I didn’t like the show.”
“I never want to leave writing: there is still a long way to go for the conclusions of my biography”.
You were at de Giovanni’s demonstration in the Mercadante to say: stay away from culture. Too humiliated in this town?
“Neapolitan culture must be defended and all Neapolitans should stop looking at their navels with satisfaction. There are many artists of all genres – such as writers, directors in theater and cinema – who, despite bands expressing a resistance and a sometimes still folkloric nostalgia, try to reflect a city in transition, frankly, unbearable».
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January 25, 2023 | 07:40
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